Most organizations want to promote free thinking and innovation and truly make it a part of their culture.
Successfully implementing innovation starts at the leadership level, with how leaders actively listen to new ideas, how they communicate plans for implementation, and the types of feedback they gather and share throughout the process.
Here are three tips to help foster innovation in your organization.
When hearing a new idea for the first time, avoid being critical or negative immediately.
Instead follow these steps to show your team that new ideas are valued:
- Show appreciation for thinking creatively and ask them how they came up with the idea.
- Ask them how they think it can benefit the team/business.
- Ask how they would implement the idea.
- List a few points, on a flip chart or white board, on why it is a good idea and how it could prove beneficial.
- After this, you address concerns you may have, but limit yourself to the one or two points that are most important.
- Ask how the team can work to overcome those concerns.
To ensure clear communication and articulation of an implementation plan, make sure you cover the following points in an easily understood manner:
- How implementing this innovation will help the business results.
- How implementing this innovation will help the individuals’ work lives.
- How implementing this innovation ties into a larger, more compelling vision of the future.
- The role models that are there to give people confidence that they can be successful.
- What will happen if we do not successfully implement the innovation?
- What are the steps we will follow to ensure implementation?
- What should they do to get started?
Send out surveys where team members can provide their thoughts. Gather feedback on the following:
- How certain initiatives are going
- Suggestions they have to improve processes/products
- What is already working well
Make sure you post the results of this information and take a few of these suggestions/ideas and develop them into implemented changes. Keep the team involved in or at least posted on the progress.
Did you like these tips? Give your employees more opportunities to develop skills like Improving Innovation.
The ThinkWise 360˚ Survey gives your employees a clear picture of their strengths and opportunities for improvement and links them directly to learning resources. Your employees will be more engaged in their own development and you'll create an alignment between the organizational strategy and your people.