How to encourage innovation in the workplace?
It is possible to encourage innovation in the workplace, and there are 5 must-dos to make it happen in your business.
First, each person must increase the density, diversity, and dynamism of their own networks of people and ideas.
Second, there must be a mechanism for people to easily remember ideas (and find them when forgotten). This can be as simple as providing dedicated idea notebooks—or as involved as using a dedicated innovation platform.
Third, leaders must increase the density, diversity, and dynamism of connections *between* people in their organizations. Foster internal meetups. If you can afford it, pay for their attendance at conferences. Open your all-hands meetings with an external speaker. If that’s unreasonable, play a TED talk.
Fourth, teams must be aligned around a north-star—a strategic intent based on the core jobs your customers are trying to get done. Give your innovation teams a destination postcard—a strategic intent—that paints a picture of a future worth creating. For example:
- “Land a man on the moon ahead of the Soviets.”
- “We want to put 1000s of songs in your pocket.”
- “Save endangered species from extinction.”
Fifth and finally, everyone must practice values that increase the odds of discovering the best that help them get their jobs done better. For example:
- Everyone must acknowledge that not everyone can be right about everything.
- Everyone must give airtime to conflicting views.
- You have to provide reasons for your beliefs.
- You’re allowed to point out flaws in the opinions, ideas, or thoughts of others.
- You’re not allowed to forcibly shut people down who disagree with you.
Following these five steps will help any organization to encourage innovation in the workplace by encouraging new ideas—and helping them to flourish. Learn more about creating an innovation culture here.