6 Ways to Encourage Innovation in the Workplace

shutterstock_696061477.jpg

Every successful company depends on innovation. An innovative environment doesn't happen by accident. There are certain practices that encourage creativity and outside-the-box thinking. The following are six of the best ways to encourage innovation in the workplace at your company.

Top 6 Ways to Encourage Innovation at Work

1. Build a Strong Company Culture

When you're clear about your goals, values, and company culture, you can hire people who share your vision. A creative atmosphere, of course, doesn't require everyone to agree on everything. It's good to have some diversity of viewpoints. However, it's equally important that everyone shares a passion for your main goals. Such a shared vision makes it more likely that team members will work together to come up with innovative ideas.

2. Create a Casual and Relaxed Atmosphere

The atmosphere of your workplace plays a large role in whether or not people feel comfortable coming forward with their ideas. It's important to encourage creativity by asking people to contribute. At the same time, the overall structure and mood that you foster also makes a big difference. A friendly, casual, and easygoing atmosphere are naturally more conducive to people sharing their ideas. For example, letting people work flexible hours reduces stress as people can create their own schedules and work according to their natural inclinations.

3. Find a Balance Between Cooperation and Competition

There are conflicting opinions about whether competition fosters or limits innovation. It really depends on how you approach it. For example, a contest that rewards the most promising idea can be a competitive yet fun and useful way to encourage people to come up with creative solutions. On the other hand, innovation also depends on teamwork so you don't want to create an atmosphere where people are too secretive. Find ways to reward both individual and group efforts. You might, for example, have contests where people work in pairs or groups rather than alone.

4. Find Ways to Reduce Workplace Stress

Stress is the enemy of innovation. When people feel harried, they're in survival mode, struggling to make deadlines rather than coming up with new solutions. Stress is a part of life and certainly workplaces. However, you can reduce it with certain policies and amenities. Make sure people have sufficient vacation time. Encouraging people to stay physically active, perhaps by arranging free or discounted gym memberships, helps them stay healthy. There's also evidence that exercise reduces stress. Distribute workloads to avoid certain individuals from being overworked. If it's hard to keep up with your workload during peak seasons, consider hiring temps.

5. Encourage Feedback and Remove Roadblocks

Very often, companies unwittingly discourage innovation by making it too complicated for employees to offer their ideas. It's also important to acknowledge all contributions, whether they prove viable or not. If someone comes up with a proposal or solution, acknowledge it, both individually and publically. This will encourage others to follow suit. As much as possible, simplify the process for implementing innovations. For example, if new ideas are currently discussed at multiple meetings over a period of months, perhaps you can streamline the process to a single meeting.

6. Organize Innovation Sprints

Innovation sprints are sessions designed to encourage creative thinking. You can set up a sprint for any length of time you want, from a few hours to several weeks. They can be set up to solve a specific problem or more broadly to elicit ideas on multiple issues. Organize people into teams and ask them to develop ideas on a certain theme. At the end, each team shares its findings. In some cases, the ideal solution combines ideas from multiple teams.

Encouraging innovation in the workplace can help you gain an edge over the competition. Innovation starts with hiring the right people. Cohesion will help you find the ideal people for your company and culture.

Find Top IT and Accounting Talent with Cohesion

Get in touch with our IT staffing and accounting recruiters. Kickoff your external recruiting process with Cohesion and we will connect you with top talent in no time.

If you enjoyed this blog article, you may also like the following blog articles from Cohesion:

John OwensComment