Innovation is at the heart of any successful business. Companies in the long-tail game are adaptable. They are in tune with the changing needs and desires of their customers and are willing to fail along the road to successful innovation. Businesses can foster a culture of innovation in several ways:
Demonstrate leadership qualities
When business founders, owners and CEOs are positive, passionate about the work they do and are motivated to work towards their vision for the future of their company, they foster a culture that is open to change and innovation. Said another way, charismatic business leaders who demonstrate leadership qualities pave the way for employees to explore new ideas.
Let everyone play
Because everyone brings their unique experiences and perspectives to the table, allow your employees to brainstorm ideas for business growth as well as brainstorm customer solutions. Leaving brainstorming and innovating strictly to the leadership team is a narrow-minded approach that will guarantee missed opportunities. The “everyone gets to play” approach also drives employee satisfaction and engagement which results in increased productivity. And this productivity pays off. Companies with high employee engagement are 21% more profitable.
Give employees mental space
Demonstrating a passion for the future of your company and including employees in the conversation aren’t the only ways to spur innovation, however. When bosses and managers designate time for employees to brainstorm new ideas, they turn their words into action. When employees are granted a break from daily tasks to double down on the innovation process, they feel like a valuable part of the company and will return the favor with fresh ideas to propel your company forward.
Avoid seagull management
Micromanaging kills inspiration. If you want to encourage innovation, grant your employees the freedom to do so. Give them creative license to pursue new ideas. Reward them for their ideas—not just their successes—and support them when a brave new idea fails. It’s all part of the journey and it can take many failures to achieve one success!
A roundtable discussion is one way to generate new ideas but the format might leave people feeling too vulnerable to share what’s really on their minds. Surveys are an effective method for privately soliciting innovative ideas. Not only will you yield more ideas but you’ll be surprised by all the great ideas from some of your quietest employees.
Learn from client problems
Every failure is an opportunity for growth. Every client problem is an opportunity for innovation. Instead of sending client problems directly to your customer service department, take note of them and share them with your employees. If you find common issues, brainstorm how you can improve the client experience in those particular scenarios. When you make space for collaborative problem solving, you innovate better.
Disrupt your industry
According to Harvard Business School Online, disruptive innovation happens when “...newcomers to the market can capitalize on opportunities to target overlooked consumers. Over time, the younger, nimbler firms improve their products and services, eventually moving from fringe to mainstream adoption…”
When you create a company culture where leadership and employees alike envision a future of endless possibilities, embrace new ideas and take risks, you have the opportunity to disrupt your industry with innovative ideas and compete with industry leaders.
And positioning your business as a market disruptor pays off. According to research by Forbes, increased revenue is reported by 83% of execs who view their businesses as market disruptors. It pays to foster innovation!
If you’d like to foster innovation within your organization, it’s critical to have the right technology at your disposal. If you’re interested in learning how we can equip your business with the perfect solutions to facilitate your goals, contact us at 952-905-3700. Let us expand the circle of happ(i)ness into your world!