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Business leaders can play an active role in fostering creativity and problem-solving at work. Businesses increasingly use innovation to stay competitive, and the most successful use various methods to encourage these activities.
Today’s market is highly competitive, and the innovation rate is also relatively rapid. That means organisations must be innovative to stay in business and remain relevant. Employees play a significant role in innovating products or services that align with customers’ needs. Research showed that organisational innovation strategies' success depends on human capital.
Business leaders also play a significant part in building innovative workplaces. Similarly, they could easily and subconsciously sabotage innovation. How could they encourage innovation? There are different effective ways to inspire innovation in the workplace.
Organisational innovation is the practice or process of creating and implementing (or adopting) new ideas to help create new and unique products and services or improve an organisation's management models. Organisational innovation aims to create value and stir business growth.
Are there any benefits of encouraging innovation? Here is why organisational innovation in the workplace is essential:
1. It enhances efficiency in business operations
2. It promotes competitiveness
3. It boosts employee engagement
4. It acts as a proactive approach for a business to keep up with industry changes.
A culture that empowers employees is one of the most incredible ways of encouraging employees to be innovative. Employers can empower employees by providing them with resources and tools, offering flexible working hours, giving opportunities for employees to present their proposed projects s and providing mentorship where needed. Empowerment also entails acknowledging failures.
Innovation in the workplace is often more effective if there is teamwork. Therefore, a business leader should promote collaboration among various departments and professional backgrounds where each can table their point of view. Additionally, employee collaboration brings together complementary skills and enhances brainstorming. These are important when establishing innovative ideas. Above all, it improves employee engagement. Generally, collaboration is one of the keys to unlocking innovation in the workplace, and managers need to cultivate it at all levels.
Rewarding and recognition are other great ways of fostering innovation in the workplace. Everyone, including employees, has the value of being recognised for their effort in creating a solution. It motivates other employees since they see their efforts being recognised and not taken in vain.
Business leaders need to come up with a recognition and reward program. It doesn’t necessarily mean monetary rewards because employees appreciate recognition in different ways. It could be an award scheme, gift cards, public recognition, offering project or professional development opportunities etc.
Business leaders must listen to create a workplace environment where employees can freely voice their opinions or ideas. One of the easiest ways leaders sabotage innovation is by acting like they know it all and criticising ideas before evaluating them.
Employees can be more productive when their opinions are heard and often involved in decision-making. Above all, a business leader should create time to meet employees who want to share their ideas.
Business leaders and their employees need to stay updated with industry trends no matter their role. Why is it essential anyway? It gives a competitive edge in identifying growth and innovation opportunities. It also helps them stay ahead of the competition.
Organisations may sponsor some employees to attend conferences and workshops for learning and networking opportunities.
Listening to employees’ innovative ideas is good but having a strategy or plan on how to execute the ideas is equally important. An innovative idea can only be helpful if it’s implemented. Some ideas may be a tremendous success for a business, while others may not be effective.
Business leaders have a responsibility to create an innovative culture within their organisations. Additionally, empowering employees with the necessary tools, resources and mentorship and recognising their efforts catalyses workplace innovation. Above all, there is a need for a strategy that executes some of the evaluated innovative ideas from employees.
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