What Drives Innovation?

Innovation is bedrock of the future. While the idea that innovation furthers economic growth is incontrovertible, but the factors that, in turn, drive innovation are not fully understood. Different people have a varying takes on how they define innovation; entrepreneurs struggle to create a culture of innovation to businesses — both big and small. But do they offer its employers an environment that is conducive of innovation. This blog article looks at the different way in which Innovation can be bred and blossomed.

1. Mock-Proof

Innovation comes from a place of free thought, and where there are people consumed in contributing with their ideas in some of the most nascent, underdeveloped forms, there is very little space for criticisms, mockery and dismissals. There is a different place for that. Encourage a community of workers within your business who are not afraid to experiment and think out loud. You’d be surprised the kind of ideas you’ll be able to nurture when you create a workplace that is collaborative and dismisses mockery in all forms.

2. Show, Don’t Tell

Leaders within organisations set the tone of how teams drive communicate and interact. They have enormous power, and to a great extent — the responsibility to drive high-powered innovation. Leaders therefore must take the onus to set and display their tolerance towards risk-taking enterprises that involve innovation. When employees see a leader not fazed by experimenting, or perhaps, managing innovative ideas and developments without bias — you set a clear example and send a message that implies — I trust you, and I’m going to back you up on your idea.

3. Before you Say No, Say Yes

How do you know if you don’t try! Sure, there is a huge chance there you’ll fail — but isn’t that what defines your ability as an entrepreneur, a businessman. Involve your team and make them a valuable part of the company you want to grow, to conduct a series of rapid-cycle experiments to test new ways of working. When there is a real tangible asset your employees can connect to and feel responsible for, you are going to find a more interactive workplace.

4. Erase the Red Tapes, Bring on the Friendly Policy

If introducing drastic new policies is a tough one for you, try to replicate new idea on a project level. For example, have a cross-functional project team tackle a key issue within set time. With focused effort, it’s often surprising how much progress can be made. By creating the space and time to innovate, you can protect creativity from getting pushed to the wayside in the onslaught of short-term priorities.

5. Re-evaluate your personal threshold for failure

It is most certainly easy for you to promote the idea of risk-taking, than to practice it. Therefore, the first rule when you drive innovation within your workplace, focus on how honest are willing to get with yourself about your failures and shortcomings. If you say you want innovation, but continually imply that failure is something to be avoided and punished, people will never take a risk. As leaders, the first hurdle to inspiring innovation in organisations is to first re-invent ourselves.

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