So you want your employees to innovate! What can you do to help them?

How can you help employees innovate?1.      Provide context or framework. Take the time to think about and communicate this to everyone in your company.

2.      Foster an environment where employees feel comfortable inputting ideas. Take this a step further and encourage building on top of ideas.

3.      Avoid penalizing failure. Allow employees to fail so that they keep trying. The more you try the higher the potential for success.

4.      Allot time and resources for those who want to innovate (could be % time, number of days, could be access to facilitators where peers build on ideas)

5.      Have a central team/person who can be contacted with concepts

6.      Have a fund individuals or teams can apply for to test out, prototype, vent, or build their ideas

7.      Employ internal Innovation Challenge to gather ideas (with context)

8.      Get teams to come up with ways to improve technology or processes in their area

9.      Expose teams to different environments, ways of thinking, technologies, and business models to spark their thinking

10.  Recognize innovators (not always the same people or groups) – publicly and potentially financially

11.  Above all, commit to doing (and financing) what you are asking your organization to create

 

If you are an employee how can you innovate?

1.   Follow what is going on in your industry and with competitors. This will give you ideas on where you as a business may want to go. It may trigger you to come up with improvements and build upon what competitors are doing to create an even better product

2.   Improvement:

  • Look for ways to improve current services, products and processes
  • Outline which processes in your company bother you and look for solutions
  • Be curious – ask questions on how things work outside your team

3.   Technology:

  • Organize a meeting to brain storm on new services/product ideas

4.   Network:

  • With people or teams that are innovative or are trusted. Then run your improvement ideas by them
  • With people outside your team / department to get different ideas and to understand what some of their challenges are