Good ideas don’t just happen. A culture of innovation must be nurtured. These three tactics encourage employees of all levels to commit to ideation.
Ideation requires resources. Allocate time, supplies, and incentives within your budget for all stages of innovation. This allows your team to focus on new ideas, whether they turn out to be success or failures, without worrying about other tasks. Entrepreneur Jason Hennessey describes how he sets aside time for developing new ideas with “Creative Wednesdays.” Once a week, he forgoes meetings and other responsibilities for unstructured, uninterrupted time. This strategy allows him to be more focused on the present and encourages creative thinking.
Another way to build innovation into your budget is with training in creative problem solving as well as other relevant continued education. This gives your employees the up-to-date tools, tactics, and best practices they need to navigate potential opportunities.
Giving your employees insight into the threats and opportunities your business is facing gives them something to focus their ideation on. This sort of open communication should include the potential benefits of addressing your company’s biggest concerns, including remaining competitive and keeping clients. When potential problems are shared throughout the organization, you encourage solutions from nontraditional sources who may approach the situation in a unique way.
The environment you maintain for your employees plays a large role in how innovative they can be. Stressful workplaces make creative problem solving difficult. Instead, work to create an environment that encourages work-life balance, prioritizes breaks, and embraces mistakes. It’s also important to address burnout and other mental health concerns, especially in demanding, fast-paced, and competitive industries. Without psychological safety, a concept that focuses on ensuring employees feel supported, good ideas are hard to come by.
Environment is still an important piece of an innovative culture, even when employees are working remotely. Replicating the concept of psychological safety, as well as work-life balance, in a virtual workplace means approaching brainstorming sessions and other ideation strategies in a way that is accessible and inclusive for employees no matter where they’re working.