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Fundamentals Of Sustaining Innovation In Your Business
Every business needs to keep an eye on the market to stay ahead of the competition. One of the easiest ways to do this is to encourage a culture of sustain innovation amongst employees. Whether a business is big or small, everyone can innovate at some level as long as the staff is allowed time to do so. Take a look at some of these best practices to sustain innovation to determine which ones to put in place right away.
Reduce The Bureaucracy
One of the most efficient ways to encourage employees to continue submitting ideas is to act on their plan as soon as possible. Try to eliminate bureaucratic steps or at least minimize it. Everybody should see that actionable step are being taken. The two areas that tend to take the longest are approval and funding. Try to streamline the approval process to end any potential issues. Also, set aside money, if possible, to spend on such projects without waiting weeks to release the funds. Companies that adjust to the market through a free approval process are in a good position to sustain innovation.
Share The Love
Upper management has a finite amount of time to review facts and make decisions. They aren’t always able to provide face-to-face time with employees to discuss ideas in detail. But this doesn’t mean that employees can’t receive feedback, feedback should instead be consolidated. Scheduled events such as team meetings or paid lunches allow everyone to hear about new developments from their peers. Employees interacting with customers are particularly important. Their ideas may have originated from end users.
Don’t Blame Anyone
A typical business will let everyone know about the successes of individuals and teams as soon as occurs to boost morale. One of the biggest morale drops is the result of assigning blame as soon as something fails. Take a sharp look at the employee manual to determine if there are any rules impeding innovation. Rewrite these portions of the employee manual to become a learning process instead. It will result in employees being better prepared should a particular situation occur again.
Schedule Creative Activities
Businesses already have daily, weekly, and monthly activities such as meetings and planning sessions. But creative activities should also be scheduled on the calendar for coming up with new ideas. These activities can include things such as brainstorming, mind mapping, and forced association. Also, use well-documented innovation exercises such as Six Thinking Hat and SCAMPER. When employees know these events are coming up, they will subconsciously be creative thinking at all times. The last thing they’ll want is to show up and have nothing to contribute.
Think Big, Invent Small
When surveying the market, some companies stand out who invent great things all the time. Everyone aspires to be like them. In actuality, these companies have developed a culture of innovation for projects both big and small. In most cases it’s only the big things that make it into a press release. These are the inventions which have a great impact on the market. Making a bunch of little improvements can result in a product becoming much better than just the sum of its improved parts.
Reach For Beyond The Sky
Establish goals early in the innovation process. Determine whether everything is on track or falling behind. Unrealistic goals should be set to sustain innovation and encourage creativity in attaining them. Employees will push the boundaries of what is possible. Even if they only get part of the way towards a goal, the result is still better than achieving a boring realistic goal.
Money? What Money?
When it comes to allocating resources towards a project or a new idea, there’s going to be a finite amount of time and money available. One of the criteria to consider for implementing an idea is what can be done without any money? Partially implemented ideas using little or no funds has a greater chance of receiving money in the future. The longer a project performs without money, the better, as this encourages efficiency. Everyone involved will come up with new ways to do things which can benefit everyone in the long run.
Measure The Market
After a new innovative product is released, it’s time to determine how the public received it. Customers can provide feedback about a product through channels such as a website, chat, telephone, and social media. Employees who contributed towards development, as well as the idea originator, should review feedback. With regular monitoring of the market employees will be well prepared to respond to performance issues. They’ll be able to remedy situations as soon as possible. Just selling a product is not sufficient, customers also need to be satisfied with it.
Every company should allow common sense to prevail in their business culture. In particular, minimizing bureaucracy and establishing goals for funding. Be sure to recognize individuals who contribute ideas and provide feedback, but don’t place blame anywhere. Everyone should try to invent something small daily to be better prepared for scheduled activities. Allowing everyone to take part helps the business sustain innovation.
This guest post was written by Frank Laughlin. An innovator and adventurer at heart, Frank is committed to providing unique ways of inspiring ideas, sparking creativity and encouraging problem-solving. As creator of ideas2apply, Frank encourages creative thinking via the exploration of topics from multiple angles. When not generating new and unique ways to help young minds explore and grow, Frank cultivates his need for adventure through frequent visits to theme parks, sports venues, and instrumental music performances.