Last Updated on August 24, 2023 by Dave Schoenbeck
When did you hire someone last because they were a little weird?
I’ve written about the benefits of hiring employees who don’t fit the stuffy corporate profile.
Hiring fresh, creative, off-the-wall people to work at your organization can stimulate innovation and ultimately help your company grow by leaps and bounds.
Why Encourage Innovation?
Many business owners and leaders understand the importance of teamwork, loyalty, and a strong culture, but not enough companies value innovation. Even fewer know how to encourage creativity and innovative thinking among their employees.
According to a study by Robert Half, 35% of chief financial officers said their primary roadblock to organizational breakthroughs was a lack of innovative ideas. Innovation keeps your business relevant, puts you ahead of the competition, and helps a business survive in these ever-changing times. Many companies don’t think to foster a culture of creativity until it’s too late.
Creative thinking can very quickly take your business to the next level. The key is to stimulate innovation at all levels of your organization, starting with leadership.
Ways to Stimulate Innovation in Your Business
If your employees aren’t used to using creative thinking, it might take some time to ease the company culture in that direction. Start by having an honest talk with your team about what new behaviors you’d like to see from them. Let them know you’d want to stimulate innovation on a company-wide level.
Many of your associates have good ideas but never speak out about them for fear of being ridiculed or sounding silly. If you emphasize that you value brainstorming and that no idea is too out there to mention, they’ll feel more comfortable coming up with new ideas and trying them out.
Giving your teammates agency over their projects and responsibilities is essential for this to work. If your staff is invested in the outcome of a particular project or goal, they’re more likely to come up with as many ideas as possible to see it succeed.
You might also need to look at the structure of your business to see if any obstacles block innovative thinking. For example, if an idea needs to pass through several strict committees or teams before it’s implemented, employees might feel like it’s a waste of time to make suggestions. Make it easier for your workers to implement their ideas—it’s almost always better to try a new approach and see it fail than remain stagnant and stuck in your processes.
When in doubt, be the example you want to see. Your associates are much more likely to make an attempt and risk failure if they see you’re not afraid to do the same.
Finally, it’s a worthwhile investment to hold workshops on creativity and innovation or to send your employees to seminars so they can learn more. Many employees want to be more creative but are not used to being asked for this type of input. It might take some learning and unlearning for your team to find the right balance.
Are you ready to take the first steps to create a culture that stimulates innovation? Please fill out my contact form, and let’s have a video call to discuss how to get started.