The road to innovation is a key area of focus for businesses today. In fact, a CapGemini Consulting survey revealed that two-thirds of the responding businesses were working to develop a business culture of innovation. Unfortunately, creating goals and attempting to develop an environment of innovation have proved difficult for many businesses to master in today’s competitive market. It’s certainly not a goal business owners and leaders can lend lip service alone to accomplish. It takes dedication and consistent effort.
These are a few small changes your company can make that will foster a business-wide culture of innovation.
Ignite the Flames of Passion
These two quotes sum up the importance of passion quite nicely:
- “There is no greatness without a passion to be great, whether it’s the aspiration of an athlete or an artist, a scientist, a parent, or a businessperson” – motivational speaker and author Tony Robbins.
- “One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested”– English novelist, E.M. Forster.
Passionate people deliver results that are truly innovative and creative. These are the people who think outside the box. They aren’t content to simply find new ways to make existing products work better; these are the people who will revolutionize the industry and change how the products are made. They go beyond — way beyond — the proverbial punching of the work clock.
Think of the evolution of coffee. 30 years ago people were making coffee in percolators. Then there were drip coffee makers. Today, the coffee industry has been transformed by the Keurig brewing system. Even national brands of coffee are beginning to sell K-cups that are compatible with the innovative coffee system that brews one cup at a time with the touch of a button. These are the types of innovations that come from passionate people.
Many businesses talk a good bit about innovation, but are often risk-averse when it comes to taking risks. Employees notice this and over time they quit bringing new ideas to the table because they believe nothing is going to happen. Reward employees with big ideas by offering perks, raises, and recognition for a job well done.
Public recognition for these types of creative ideas accomplishes two things for the business. First, it honors the person who had the idea so that he or she will continue to bring new and innovative ideas to your attention. Second, it shows your other employees just how much they have to gain by coming up with a few new innovations of their own.
Understand the Creative Process
The bottom line is that your employees can only provide you with the innovative creativity you’re seeking if you give them an environment to work in that’s conducive to having those ideas. If they’re spending all their creative energy trying to figure out how they’re going to pay the bills this month or are distracted by personal problems, then they aren’t going to be able to turn that creative prowess to the needs of your business. This is one reason that a comprehensive benefits program that helps employees manage money, get emotional support, and earn a comfortable wage are necessary in today’s business world if innovation is a priority for your business.
The other thing to know about the creative process is that it doesn’t generally happen while staring at a computer screen. Consider bringing in gym equipment, video games, and other distractions for employees that allow them to remain mentally or physically occupied while thinking creatively. You’ll never know how many major innovations in the world have happened over a game of hoops in the parking lot. It’s a safe bet that that the number is higher than for those who were hunched over a desktop computer.
Companies that lack a culture of innovation lose flexibility, acceleration, and agility, and are unable to adequately meet the demands of business growth. These are just a few small changes you can make in your business culture that will go a long way towards fostering a more innovative workplace today and in the future to make magic happen in your company.