Companies stay ahead of the competition through innovation. Evidence shows that businesses that innovate deliver above average sales growth and profits.
Therefore innovation is vital to your company.
To get you on your way to being innovative at work, here are five helpful tips:
Tip One: Know Innovation
The DTI’s definition is “the successful exploitation of new ideas” whilst the Latin word innovatus, simply means “to renew”.
Innovation should not be confused with invention, because innovation is generally achieved though incremental steps rather than giant leaps. Keep it simple but don’t limit your thinking to just products or services.
Tip Two: Have Top Down Innovation
Innovation must be led by the CEO and the Board. If they are not seen to be passionate about innovation, it is very unlikely to happen.
For innovation to thrive you’ll need a culture that encourages and rewards employees to constantly look for ways to add value through innovation. And remember reward does not have to be confined to monetary rewards either.
Tip Three: Be ready for barriers
The next tip is to be like a boy scout; be prepared. In particular be prepared for barriers, they’re most likely be centred on people.
Be ready to face objections from around the business and know how to overcome these. With the right culture you won’t be afraid of an idea not working – innovation is an ongoing process.
Encourage a ‘Just do it’ approach and remember what Thomas Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”.
Tip Four: Listen
Most ideas are derived from your employees or customers and not from within some laboratory. The best way to stimulate innovation is to talk to your staff and customers, or moreover listen.
To help, use open questions to generate much deeper conversation and greater insights. Use this technique to get buy-in from the business, as others will feel more engaged in the dialogue. So instead of asking “do you like my idea” ask “what do you think of my idea?”
Tip Five: Maintain focus
Innovation must link to a corporate goal and meet a need, moreover a customer need.
But it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new idea. Keep your corporate goal and customers in mind for innovation to contribute to your company’s financial success.