How to Inspire Innovation
If we know one thing for certain, it’s that success comes from taking risks and thinking boldly. Innovation arises when go-getters think outside the box and execute plans intelligently and creatively. It is up to you as the leader to promote a culture that fosters change and exploration of ideas. We came across a Hubspot
article that articulated 7 ways to “Inspire Innovation Across Teams” that we just had to share.
- “Find your tolerance for growth.” Strict frameworks tend to stifle innovation. There is no room for growth or creativity when you set such stringent timelines. It is a good idea to fully hash out what your objectives are for your company. Where do you see your company down the line? What kind of growth are you hoping for? You then need to set up a tolerance for that growth and establish how your team can work within those parameters. You have to remember to cater your strategies to YOUR company and not base it off others.
- “Craft the right story.” First and foremost you need compelling content, right? So, it’s about creating the right story for your objectives of innovation. Start with your values and mission statement and then work that into your real world impact– especially in regards to how you portray innovation. The best way to foster storytelling is to give your team a problem to solve. It takes more than just small little ‘innovation projects’ to actually grow and inspire. Think about objectives that you actually want your team to achieve, and then give them the space to create and innovate.
- “Rethink your team structures.” Sometimes certain team structures can derail productivity and innovation. Different people have different comfort zones and creative circles. It would be smart to incentivize risk in order to promote the kind of innovation you’re hoping for. It might be necessary to turn the management hierarchy on its head. Turn your managers into servant leaders could be the best thing for your company. The leaders will help engage your team members to their full potential. This shift just might give you the space to create, empower, and innovate.
- “Measure employees on value-based metrics.” It’s not enough to just say, “hey, be innovators because we said so.” You must make it a priority and a requirement, not just a helpful suggestion. Performance reviews should include creativity and innovation. Reward them for the risks they take and they will want to take those risks– and that is even if they don’t pan out they way you wanted. Once you have your value-based metrics set in place, you and your employees can pursue innovation.
- “Structure innovation time for maximum impact.” This one is quite important. Similar to finding your tolerance for growth, you have to find time to foster innovation for max. Impact. It’s about creating real projects and working outside the box. Create programs to engage that kind of mentality. Think Hackathons or fun project competitions. You can reward the team or employee with the best project by implementing it and giving them credit or ownership. It’s an important step in the process. It’s one thing to just say ‘create an innovative project idea’ and a whole other thing to actually make it a reality.
- “Look outside your own walls.” As Hubspot reminds us, “Even the most nimble organizations can suffer from red tape, compliance requirements, and legacy workflows.” Sometimes, external innovation partners can open doors and get the job done quickly. It can be incredibly beneficial to work outside the typical chain of command in order to allow for opportunity.
- “Celebrate and encourage learning.” This one just might be our favorite. Innovation is FUN! It’s not meant to be a chore or something to fear. It should be celebrated and fostered. Be smart and encourage an environment that honors learning. Remember that failure is to be expected. You have to take risks and learn from the mistakes, moving forward and growing as you go. Learning is a huge part of innovation.
So, that’s it! Take these techniques and use them in any way that fits your company’s needs.