Is innovation lacking in your workplace? Do you wish to improve the level of innovation in your workplace? If your answers to these questions are yes, then you are in the right place. Everything you need to know about how to improve innovation in the workplace will be discussed in this article.
It promises to be an interesting and insightful read.
So, ensure you stick with us to the end…
What Does Innovation in the Workplace Mean – How to Improve Innovation in the Workplace
The word innovation in business is often used to mean developing new services or products.
However, innovation can mean more than this.
It can mean coming up with fresh and new ideas that can have not been seen or heard of before.
And it can also be used to refer to a change in how a business normally operates.
Innovation typically embraces new and better systems, meeting the changing demands and needs of customers, and using new technologies, as well as, new industry methods.
A business’s ability to innovate goes a long way in determining the competitive edge it has over its competitors.
It also influences a business’s survival chances and scalability.
However, innovation cannot go a long way if it is not backed up by everybody within the organization.
This is where workplace innovation comes in.
Innovation in the workplace typically means when everybody in the company contributes toward innovation in the company.
This typically includes you (the business owner or leader), the entire workforce, and even other businesses linked to your business one way or the other.
Innovative workplace culture can go a long way in helping a company grow tremendously.
This is why everyone has to take it seriously.
Advantages of Innovation in the Workplace – How to Improve Innovation in the Workplace
Innovation in the workplace often comes with several benefits and perks.
Here, the advantages of innovation in the workplace will be discussed.
This will help you further understand the need to develop an innovative culture in your company.
With that being said, below are some major advantages of innovation in the workplace.
It Boosts Company Growth
An innovative company will easily grow faster than companies that are not innovative.
If a business is rigid and maintains the same products and target market year in and year out, it becomes limited.
It can’t grow beyond that market because that is where the business has been limited to.
But innovation will push a business beyond its limit.
It can help a business dive into a different path or approach that will make it grow beyond where it currently is.
Meet Your Customer Needs – How to Improve Innovation in the Workplace
Innovation is typically customer-centric.
When developing a new service/product or even a better way of operating your business, a major focus will typically be the customer’s needs.
You will be doing these things with your customer’s needs in mind.
This will help you get new customers when you enter a new market with a new service or product.
Likewise, you can maintain your old customers and even attract new customers in your current niche by providing an improved version of existing services or/and products.
Competitive Edge – How to Improve Innovation in the Workplace
Innovation gives a business a competitive edge over its competitors.
When your company invests time, money, and effort in doing things in a fresh and better way, it naturally will excel more than other companies in the industry.
Providing your customers with new and better services and products is not all that innovation will help your business achieve.
It will also ensure your business survives and stays profitable despite the changes in your industry/market.
This is because the market trends are ever-changing, the same way approaches and methods in the industry are also ever-changing.
When your business is committed to innovation, it will always be able to adopt and adapt to the new changes in the industry.
Employee Satisfaction and Reduced Employee Turnover
Creative and talented people will typically enjoy working in an innovative workplace.
Employees usually feel engaged and valued in innovative workplaces.
This is why innovation can go a long way in boosting your employees’ motivation and satisfaction in their jobs.
When your employees love their jobs, they won’t want to leave the company.
This will significantly reduce employee turnover and help you retain your best employees.
Aside from retaining employees, an innovative workplace can also attract the best talents in the industry to your company.
This is because the best minds love to work where creative problem solving is encouraged and where they have the opportunity to work with other like minds.
Tips on How to Improve Innovation in the Workplace
Now you know the benefits innovation can bring to a company.
But then how do you improve this important element in your company?
Remember, innovation has to be backed up by everyone in an organization for it to bring the desired benefits.
If your employees are not innovative, there’s no way you will have an innovative business.
Luckily, you can encourage innovation in the workplace by doing certain tips and guidelines.
Doing these things can improve innovation in the workplace and make your employees more inclined to share their experiences, skills, knowledge, and suggestions.
With that said, the following are 13 tips and guidelines that will help you improve innovation in your workplace.
1. Make Everyone in the Workplace Understand the Importance of Innovation
The first thing you need to do when improving innovation in the workplace is to ensure everyone understands it and its importance.
If your employees do not know that you expect them to be innovative, they may not do anything innovative.
So, start by making innovation one of the main values in your organization.
Make your employees see the importance of innovation and how it can benefit both them and the company.
Let them know that not trying out new ideas and things can be detrimental to the business in the long run.
Encourage them to practice innovation by sharing their ideas.
Make them know that they should not be afraid of exploring initiatives.
2. Allow Your Employees to Be Innovative
It won’t do if you say you encourage innovation but your actions never back up what you say.
If you tell your employees to be innovative, then give them the space and time to do just that.
Encourage your employees to come up with solutions to tough problems.
Don’t try to restrict their creativity by telling them what to do all the time.
Sometimes, let them be the ones telling you what to do.
Be open to fresh ideas.
You can even take it a step further by having a specific time of the day when employees will take a break from their regular roles to think of fresh and new ideas.
A lot of successful companies do this.
If you think doing this daily is too much, then consider making it a once-in-a-week or month thing; more like a brainstorming meeting.
You can also have suggestion boxes for people who may not want to come forward with their ideas or suggestions.
The company’s intranet can also have a suggestion section for this same reason.
The topic of the day is innovation, so, also task yourself to think of other innovative ways to encourage innovation in your organization.
3. Take Your Time When Hiring – How to Improve Innovation in the Workplace
Another thing to take seriously when trying to improve innovation in the workplace is your hiring process.
The kind of people you hire oftentimes determines the kind of culture you will have in the workplace.
If you hire people that do not care about innovation or creativity, you most likely won’t be able to make them understand the importance of these things.
It is usually better to employ people whose behavioural traits match your company’s values rather than employing people who do not have these traits and then trying to instil the traits in them.
Since you are looking to improve innovation in the workplace, you need to look out for innovative people when you are hiring.
Look for people who are creative and love to think of fresh ideas.
Hire the best minds that are passionate about what they do and are also skilled with different abilities.
Another thing that encourages workplace innovation is diversity.
So, when hiring, look out for people with diverse backgrounds and different views and perspectives.
When you have a diverse workforce made up of skilled individuals, it’ll be a whole lot easier to develop an innovative workplace.
4. Ensure Employees Have Access to Upper Management – How to Improve Innovation in the Workplace
If your company has a stern hierarchy, there is a good chance that innovation won’t flourish the way it should.
So, to improve innovation, you need to work on the management structure in your company.
Do not adopt a stern hierarchy that will make it impossible for employees to access upper management with their innovative ideas.
Encourage open communication flow through all sectors and positions in the company.
Employees should be able to tell their superiors their ideas without fear of being ignored, mocked, or criticized.
Those in higher positions should listen to the other members of the workforce and not dismiss their ideas before they even had a chance to listen to them.
5. Encourage Intrapreneurship – How to Improve Innovation in the Workplace
Intrapreneurship is the practice of entrepreneurship but within the confines of an organization.
People who practice intrapreneurship are known as intrapreneurs.
Typically, intrapreneurs are employees that work as entrepreneurs within an organization.
This means that this type of employee has the skills and mindset that help them come up with new and fresh ideas, just like an entrepreneur.
So, to boost innovation in the workplace, consider encouraging intrapreneurship.
Individuals with the needed skill sets and mindset may already be working in your company.
Therefore, all you need to do is find them and motivate them to work in this capacity.
You can also help your employees grow into intrapreneurs or better yet employ intrapreneurs.
Intrapreneurship has helped many companies come up with great innovative ideas that help take these businesses to greater heights.
At the same time, many companies have lost great growth opportunities because they did not encourage intrapreneurship.
So, find out what you can about intrapreneurship and figure out how you can encourage it in your organization.
6. Encourage Collaboration
Collaboration is another way to improve innovation in a workplace.
This is because when the entire workforce collaborates, they will share ideas in a bid to reach their common goal.
And one of the best ways to come up with fresh and new ideas is when people with different perspective and skill set work hand-in-hand.
This is also why you need to encourage collaboration between departments.
Ensure that there’s a flow of ideas between teams and departments.
7. Build an Innovation Plan and Stick to It
An innovation plan typically maps out the principles and steps your company intends to use to grow using innovative approaches.
Having a good plan is very important because it will help your employees know what is expected of them when it concerns problem-solving and innovation.
It also emphasizes the importance of innovation as a core value in the company and how everyone is responsible for it.
But it goes beyond just formulating a plan.
You should also make sure that you and everyone in the company stick to the innovation plan.
8. Ensure You Acknowledge and Consider Every Shared Idea
Employees will not feel motivated to keep sharing their ideas if these ideas the company constantly ignores these ideas.
If employees know that their innovative ideas and suggestions are ignored, they won’t be motivated to keep sharing them.
So, you need to make sure that everyone in the workplace knows that their ideas and suggestions are appreciated, acknowledged, and considered.
This way, they will feel valued and will keep the ideas rolling in.
The best way to ensure they know this is by giving feedback after any idea or suggestion is made.
Ensure you have a feedback process in place such that when an employee makes an idea/suggestion, it will be considered on time and then the result of the consideration will also be sent back to the employee.
9. Implement Great Ideas – How to Improve Innovation in the Workplace
Implement good ideas as soon as possible.
This will go a long in encouraging other people to share their ideas.
It will also motivate employees to put in their best to ensure the idea ends up being successful; this in turn will considerably boost productivity.
10. Reinvent Failure – How to Improve Innovation in the Workplace
Failure is one of the major (if not the major) risks that innovation carries.
Every successful innovative idea has several failed ideas behind it.
Innovation and experimentation go hand-in-hand.
When you conceive an idea, you won’t know whether or not it will be successful until you try it out.
Yes, you can test the viability of an idea (read this to learn how to test a business idea); but even then, you cannot be 100 percent sure whether or not it will be successful.
This is what makes innovation a trial-and-error process.
So, when trying to improve innovation in your workplace, know that there may be several failures here and there.
Do not wait until you experience these failures before you make arrangements for them.
It is often better to make plans for every situation.
And the best plan you can have for failure is to reinvent it.
What does this mean?
First, acknowledge the fact that some of the ideas you may try out may fail.
Then, learn to see failure differently.
See failure as a somewhat necessary step to success instead of as something that impedes success.
Think of it as an avenue to learn and develop better ideas.
Embrace failure even.
Know that mistakes are normal when you are being innovative, so you should not be afraid to make them.
Ensure everyone in the workplace adopts this new perspective toward failure as well.
11. Offer Training – How to Improve Innovation in the Workplace
Offer your employees training that will help them build skillsets that will aid innovative and creative thinking.
Yes, this will cost you some money but just think of the money you would spend on this training as investments.
This is because you will eventually get your ROI once the trained employees start to implement the things they learned.
It will also be a great employee incentive because the training will make them more skilled at what they do.
12. Appreciate Your Employees – How to Improve Innovation in the Workplace
Encourage more innovative ideas and suggestions by appreciating those that come up with ideas.
Do this by giving rewards, shoutouts, and other perks.
You can appreciate individuals, teams, and even the entire workforce as the case may be.
13. Consider Redesigning the Workplace – How to Improve Innovation in the Workplace
Innovation starts from the mind and the mind tends to function better in certain environments and conditions.
Some environments may encourage innovation while some may impede it.
This means that the layout and design of a workplace can go a long way in influencing innovation.
So, look at the layout and design of your workplace.
Is there any way you can redesign or rearrange it to improve creativity?
For instance, you can consider making the workplace less formal and creating an ambiance that will aid information and idea sharing.
Visit here to learn more about this topic.
Conclusion on How to Improve Innovation in the Workplace
Innovation can be what distinguishes your business from the rest.
It can be what will make your business go way beyond what you had envisioned for it.
This is why you need to be serious about improving innovation in your workplace.
This article has shared some great tips that will help you do this.
But they can only be beneficial to you if you take advantage of them.
You may have a hard time at first as you try out these tips.
However, once you can establish an innovative culture in your company, then you can work on maintaining and improving it continuously.