Every company in the world wants to encourage innovation in their workplace. Whether it is big tech companies in Silicon Valley or small-scale industries in the countryside, owners are now paying extra attention to encouraging innovation in their workplace.
As a result, more than 60% of companies now have chief innovation officers to help drive new ideas and processes. Innovation helps them stay on top of the market and achieve their bottom lines each time.
In today’s competitive market, where new players enter with innovative technologies, no company can remain a dominant player eternally.
Companies must innovate to retain their current top position. However, doing it effectively could pose some major challenges.
In the article, we look at 11 innovative ways to bring innovation to your business.
Be Curious and Inquisitive
To dominate a particular niche, you must be curious to learn new things and gather more information on new market trends and your competitors. Later you can use this information and apply it to your business systematically.
Business leaders must interact with their peers and other thought leaders in workshops, conferences, trade meetings, seminars, etc. This will help the company to stay ahead of its competitors in the industry.
You always have to be curious and inquisitive. Only then you can gather more information and apply them to your business.
Leadership and Management
It comes from the top and trickles down below the organization when it comes to innovation. Top executives and senior leaders in an organization need to encourage their faculty members to innovate and bring out new ideas every day at the workplace.
Leadership and management must empower their employees at the lowest level to resolve problems through thinking and innovation.
Always motivate young entrepreneurs!
The best example is Apple’s Steve Jobs, who once famously said, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”
Dare to Experiment
You can’t stop experimenting just because you are afraid of failure. To be truly innovative, businesses need to be willing to experiment. I know money is a big issue here. Resources are not unlimited, and you can’t afford to lose after spending so much money on an experiment. But still, companies should try their best to let their employees take a risk.
An appetite for new ways of doing things is central to your business.
For example, Netflix brought the concept of the OTT (Over the Top) model, where individuals are given a choice to choose content and watch what they like. Unlike traditional media, where you are forced to watch what is being telecasted.
A Complete Strategy
On the macro level, every company needs an innovation strategy. A business just can’t outsource its entire innovation strategy to its individual employees. Regardless of his or her day-to-day job, workplace innovation must be a core part of the company’s DNA.
A comprehensive innovation strategy coming right from the top helps employees at every level grow the company’s market share and contributes to problem-solving and generating new ideas.
One of the best examples is Microsoft; by making innovation strategy a core part of employee responsibility, they have managed to beat their competition every time, year after year.
Incorporating Innovation into the Work Culture
Just developing a strategy is not enough. You have to take proactive steps to ensure innovation percolates down the hierarchy and takes root in the company’s work culture.
The innovation team led by top executives must frequently meet their employees, gather new ideas, and conduct brainstorming sessions with them as every individual can bring something new to the table. An innovative work culture allows businesses to channel their employees’ ideas and unique experiences toward the company’s growth.
Workplace Design and Layout
When it comes to innovation physical working environment is as important as the leadership and other people on the top who are running the company.
Office design and layout can make a huge difference when it comes to nurturing new ideas.
Google is one of the best examples. Google’s innovative office design includes vibrant, vivid, and dazzling colors, community-driven design, green outdoors, revolving bookcases, indoor gaming, free gourmet food, etc.
You can at least start with giving out custom printed t-shirts and coffee mugs to your employees.
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Recognize Innovation Opportunities
If your customers are not happy with a product or service you are offering, then there is an innovation opportunity lying to improve your product.
For example, BPCL launched “UFill” a digital customer service that ensures their customers have complete control over Time, Technology & Transparency as part of their fuelling experience.
With “UFill” customers can “Fast forward their fill”, leveraging the latest digital technology, which obviates the need for looking at zero or final reading.
Companies should always recognize innovation opportunities very early on and tap into it.
Disruption and Changing Trends
Disruptive technologies are incubating new businesses but at the same time destroying legacy businesses.
Your company must be able to adapt to disruptive technologies and still remain a dominant market player despite rapidly changing trends.
For example, if your business is digital marketing, then you must be able to adapt every time Google implements algorithm changes to its search engine. Otherwise, your business might go obsolete.
Similarly, technologies like Skype and Zoom are transforming how we communicate with each other and do business.
Think Beyond the Industry
Broaden your horizon and think beyond the industry or the niche you are operating in. Usually, companies have succeeded in innovating with their in-house team members. But this quite often develops “functional fixedness” which means a bias against looking for solutions outside their company.
You need to look out for ideas from other industries and incorporate it into your business. You may be a software development firm, but you can generate new ideas by communicating with people who are from other industries like banking, automobile, media & entertainment, etc.
Listen to Your Customers and End Users
This should have been my first point in this article. Many good ideas can come from your customers. You need to have open communication with the end-users of your products/services.
You don’t have to innovate just for the sake of innovation. You just can’t make unnecessary changes to products and call it a great innovation. First, you have to understand your customer’s needs and make changes accordingly, not on your whims.
Leaders with excellent vision can always bring innovation to their organization. Leadership with a futuristic view can take the company forward into the future.
There are several examples where leaders with vision have transformed their company into something no one could have imagined earlier.
Two such examples are Apple Inc., where Steve Jobs introduced the next generation of smartphones, and Elon Musk, who wants to make space travel more affordable.
To bring innovation, leaders have to look into the future.
In this day & age, where competition is very tough, a company has to keep innovating to survive and make profits.
As a business leader or an entrepreneur, you must always try your best to bring innovation to your business. Otherwise, you may not survive in your industry.