Most business owners agree on the importance of continuously generating and achieving original, novel ideas within their respective industries. However, there is much debate on the most effective ways to implement a culture of innovation and thus inspire employees to dream, test and ultimately effectuate the latest and greatest solutions to the most dynamic issues in the market. As many organizations have witnessed, creativity can often be stifled by the mundane (yet critical) daily tasks that must be completed. To avoid this repressive, stagnant culture within your company, here are six ways you and your management team can help your staff commit to innovation and ultimately elevate your company above the competition.
1. Create an Open Atmosphere
One of the most critical components of achieving an innovative culture is the manner in which executives, managers and first-level employees respond to one another’s new ideas or suggestions. It’s extremely important to have an open and welcoming atmosphere in your place of business if you want the flow of ideas to be constant. Top company leaders like John F. Malloy, Chairman, President & CEO of Victaulic encourage non-hierarchical management and a business culture which facilitates an open door policy, allowing employees to communicate with leaders at any moment. Encourage honesty and trust between your workers so everyone feels comfortable making new suggestions. Each employee should feel like they’re on the same team as opposed to an individual within a structured hierarchy.
2. Hire Unique People
Many hiring managers fall victim to the common “similar to me bias”, where they limit their potential candidate pool based on the individuals that most resemble themselves. This bias poses numerous risks to organizations at large, since it limits diversity of thought and the balance of ideas. Conversely, organizations should pursue a diverse array of candidates across all backgrounds, ethnicities, experiences, and interests. Innovation is best achieved through unique perspectives and intellectual debate.
3. Take Away Stressors
Next, a productive, innovative office is one of serenity and tranquility. While business is often stressful as a whole, employees should feel productive and valued as they progress through their day and the related challenges that will inevitably arise. If a stressful environment ensues, employees are stretched thin and resources are scarce, creative thoughts and idea generation will renege. Since the best brainstorming occurs when people feel relaxed and inspired, potential stressors should be identified, monitored and alleviated as frequently and as early as possible, before they become unsurmountable. To achieve this seemingly impossible task, ask for feedback from your employees to see what existing or potential problems need to be solved. Another proactive strategy is to offer in-office perks which reduce stress, such as massages, relaxing music and snacks.
4. Skip the Traditional Office Layout
Another characteristic of companies that consistently generate the most revolutionary ideas is their unique office layout. As opposed to the traditional desk-in-cubicle setup, be creative! Try inspiring those innovative juices with a layout that encourages movement, fun and passion. Some companies have standing desks, comfy living room layouts, open office setups or other unique settings to help them reward their employees while facilitating creative brainstorming.
5. Have Fun
Fun is another great precursor to incredible ideas. If your workers never have fun while doing their job, it may not be feasible for innovative thoughts to be produced. Encourage passion for projects and enthusiasm during brainstorming sessions to cultivate those amazing breakthroughs.
6. Celebrate New Ideas
The last way to help your workers generate new ideas for your industry is to celebrate when it happens. Companies that challenge their employees to produce novel solutions make sure they acknowledge those innovative ideas whenever possible. Chairman John F. Malloy and other business leaders stress the importance of recognizing employees for their innovative solutions.”An important aspect of our progress is to create the type of work environment which equips and motivates Victaulic employees to deliver their best effort,” commented John F. Malloy. Over time, more workers may be inspired to develop their own new idea and contribute to the contagious culture of innovation and positivity. Use these tips to help foster new ideas and inspiration in your workplace.