One of the biggest struggles for any modern business is learning how to effectively foster and promote a culture of innovation across their organization. Despite the perception that breakthroughs occur in out of the blue ‘ah-ha’ moments, innovation is not the product of luck - nor is it something that can be found through the imitation of fads and trends: standing desks aren’t the solution (though they do have their benefits!). If you want to encourage innovation in your workplace, it’s important to balance the purposeful management of the innovation processes of your employees with the cultivation of a sense of challenge and reward in their day-to-day tasks. Here are some of our tips for how you can strike such a balance in your organisation:
Make it a challenge
If you want your employees to be more creative in their problem-solving and in their day-to-day processes, then it is important that they are regularly presented with challenges that get them to evaluate, refine and extend their abilities. One way to do this is to give them demanding tasks that are in-line to their skill-set, abilities and interests. That said, it's important to be setting the challenge in a way that forces them to think on their toes and out of their usual mental frameworks, without being daunting or overwhelming - exhaustion doesn’t enable innovation, it stifles it!
Think about WHO is doing what
Delegation is important to the success of any workplace, but sometimes it can feel tempting to pass off work to whoever has the free time to complete it or who would have the easiest time finishing it off. If you really want your employees to feel the motivation to think creatively about the work that they are doing, you have to consider not just who can do the work, but who is going to be forced to think creatively by undertaking this project?
Know how to measure your progress
Knowing how to measure your progress is a crucial part of implementing any sort of change in an organization, and growing a culture of innovation is no exception. When measuring innovation in your workplace, however, there may not be traditional metrics that capture the true value of progress. As such it’s important to set aspirational goals that are reflective of the sort of change that you would like to see. Creating a framework for ideas to be logged and adequately considered, as well as tracking how they are subsequently implemented into operational processes, is also key to laying an effective foundation for continuous innovation.
Create the spaces and capabilities for learning
Without learning, innovation simply doesn’t happen. Though there are many ways to enable ongoing education and learning within an organisation, there are some simple processes that you can put in place to ensure that everyone is engaged in learning behaviours that promote a culture of innovation. Establishing collaborative spaces and setting aside time for meaningful learning conversations are certain to result in improvement in your innovation processes, as will active engagement in new technologies that force your employees to reevaluate how they manage and think about their workflows. Most importantly, everyone within your organisation should feel that they have the permission to speak freely, question, and intellectually engage with the processes that underlie how your business operates.
Do you have any stories as to how you have managed to promote a culture of innovation in your workplace? Let us know what you think the best ways to foster a cultural shift in your organisation are!