It can not be said that in today's market companies must innovate in order to survive. There is more pressure now than at any other time in history for innovation, especially if companies want to be industry leaders. This is because rapidly evolving technology continually brings changes to markets and changes trends in customer behavior and expectations.
The most effective way to stay competitive is to make innovation a habit throughout the company. Innovation should be an initiative shared by all departments and must be led by leaders in order to create permanent power. Innovation is for everyone in the company. It's not just for product development, and it's not just for the creative department.
In my work, I have seen that when innovation is practiced in every department, and at every level, it has a significant impact on competitiveness and economic performance. I have seen a stalled company implement creative leisure time and benefit from the patents of those "leisure" projects. I helped a company that felt comfortable in its industry to develop a single idea that not only revolutionized its product, but also had a broad application for other industries and made a significant profit, selling only l & # 39; idea. I helped one of the largest universities in Africa implement mandatory innovation in each department, resulting in more than 120 process improvements that are expected to profoundly impact the organization's budget. Each of these noteworthy business successes happened because leaders appreciated innovative thinking.
A breakthrough at the corporate level towards innovative thinking causes a chain effect and employees begin to see opportunities and opportunities for improvement where they were not looking before. Innovation inspires thoughtfulness, efficiency and positive changes at all levels of the organization.
So, how can you make your leaders more innovative? It takes much more than simple training; it is a mixture of mentoring with soft skills, cultural dedication to practice, consistency and reinforcement. Here are five ways to help your management team promote innovation.
Help them develop self-awareness. Because? Because self-awareness allows people to better understand how and where they behave the best. When it comes to innovation, there are six stages needed: identify, define, develop, verify, implement and scale. Once people understand their talents, abilities and passions, they will be able to ascertain where they fit best in these phases. We have developed an evaluation of Innovation Fitness ™ which measures 61 traits and tells you which phases are your sweetest points (and where you actually hinder the process). Your leaders will better understand their extraordinary contribution to innovation once they are able to see results on paper.
Allow them to take risks. Encourage your leaders to be courageous in their efforts and ideas. Creating an environment in which to take risks and learn through bankruptcy are on the agenda. Consider a reward system to try out new things, to get ideas and to think innovatively. No one takes risks because of the risk of taking risks. People generally risk because they are trying to learn, do or demonstrate something. Make this kind of behavior ideal.
Support their intellectual growth. Encourage your leaders to learn Continuous study naturally leads to broadening perspectives and stimulating critical thinking. The most significant proof of intellectual growth is the kind of questions that are being asked and the application of new knowledge in different ways. Learning also stimulates curiosity and a deeper understanding. Encourage your leaders to read books and articles, help them outline a course of study or a series of thought leaders to follow, work on intellectual exercises together as a team, or assign topics to team members to study and present to the group.
Encourage them to embrace creativity. Creativity comes in many forms. It is not just artistic expression. Creativity is simply transforming imagination into something real. He is seeing things from another point of view, finding connections between ideas and generating solutions to problems and opportunities. It is easy to understand why creativity is essential for innovation. The truth is that everyone has the potential for creativity, but we often prohibit creative thinking because we fear insufficient results or judgments.
Challenge yourself to develop a system of innovation. Innovation does not happen only by chance; requires structure An innovation system is the methodology needed to think about problems and ask the necessary questions along the way. It will be different for each leader. We all think differently and we face problems from different points of view. But regardless of how you look at it, you have to fix it. An effective innovation system allows you to document ideas and actions, bring people along the process and see results at the end of the day.
To be innovative as an organization, it is necessary to invest not only in the position of products, processes and marketing, but it is also necessary to invest in the development of innovative leaders and in the creation of a culture that seeks continuous improvement. This kind of encouragement means that people are more involved in the overall success of the team and the company.
Innovation should be the responsibility of every leader in your company. It does not matter if your company has a team dedicated to innovation, there is room for improvement in every department. Even if you are not creating a new product or service, you can always work on other types of innovations. Everyone should be invited and should contribute to your organization's innovation agenda.
By Dr. Evans Baiya
About the author
Dr. Evans Baiya is an innovation and technology consultant, speaker and author of Price Associates. He is the co-author of The Innovator & # 39; s Advantage: Revealing the hidden connection between people and processes. Find out more on TheInnovatorsAdvantage.com.