I firmly believe it is a mistake of leaders to feel they can force innovation or even create innovative people.
Innovation, in its purest form, means change. And while change can be forced upon people, the best changes, the kind that make an organization excellent, come from the heart of a person.
Great innovation comes from the gut. You cannot legislate those kinds of changes.
Culture of Innovation
Even if that is true, however, there are things leaders can do even in a culture of innovation to encourage team members to be more creative.
Here are a 10 random ideas to help.
Feel free to add some that have worked in your organization.
- Get away from the office routinely as a team. There is something about a change in surroundings that encourages a change in thought.
- Have a brainstorming session with open-ended questions. (For an example our staff did recently read THIS POST.)
- Reward new ideas/Recognize new thoughts/Celebrate success – People will want to be a part of it.
- Encourage thinking time. (Read a couple posts about that HERE and HERE.)
- Have times together as a team that are simply fun.
- Remove obstacles to innovative thought, such as communication barriers between team members and management.
- Talk about current culture and how changes can impact your organization’s culture.
- Be accessible. It encourages team members to share new ideas with you more often.
- Welcome diversity of thoughts and opinions, even if they are different than yours.
- Set innovation goals, such as “make changes to the website next year this time.”
Here are more steps from e-How.com
- Promote regular team brainstorming sessions. Brainstorming allows employees a chance to produce a high quantity of ideas. Once a large store of ideas is built up, teams have an opportunity to choose only the best of the bunch, leading to higher quality of ideas as well.
- Take short breaks during brainstorming sessions. Psychological studies prove that taking short breaks during brainstorming sessions can increase productivity and lead to greater creativity and innovation.
- Ask team members to think about the issues at hand and write down ideas before attending a brainstorming session. This will lead to greater productivity during the session.
- Create a positive and encouraging work environment. If employees feel comfortable and encouraged, they will not be afraid to express their ideas to the team. A positive work environment also reduces stress, which can inhibit creativity and innovation.
- Consider adding a new member to the team if it seems creativity and innovation are lacking. A new member can bring a fresh perspective and more ideas to the table.
I encourage you to innovate and come up with better ideas than these and share them with us here.
Image Sources: eHow.com
- You Need a Good Bad Idea (linked2leadership.com)
- How I Use Visualization to Drive Creativity by Mark Suster (bothsidesofthetable.com)
- Innovative People Laugh and Have More Fun at Work (startupprofessionals.com)