How to Foster Innovation In the Workplace
When it comes to good business practice, making sure innovation is at the forefront of your business model is critical. Creating a new method, product or idea can be difficult, and turning to your employees will often help you find it. Previously, we’ve spoken about how to foster motivation in the workplace, but once you have the motivation, what do you do with it? It’s in this space of workplace motivation that you find room for innovation. We’ve compiled our top tips for fostering innovation in your business.
- Mix It Up
People are naturally territorial and routine seekers. so encouraging people to step out of these instincts will come as a challenge, and help create innovative solutions and creative problem solving within the new teams and projects. Keeping teams varied fosters new people with different points of view to work together, and come to compromises and innovative solutions. By keeping with the same people at all times, it can be easy to fall into a repetition in project management. Keep things fresh and ever-changing to foster innovation from your teams.
- Risk it for the Biscuit
The biggest and most successful businesses didn’t get to where they are by playing it safe. Taking risks, and making sure employees know to take risks, is key to fostering innovation within your business. Encouraging risk taking within the business culture will create an environment in which people feel comfortable and supported in making decisions that are outside of the box. And by feeling empowered to think outside of the box and take risks, innovation will flourish. Before you know it, you’ll be at the forefront of innovative business solutions.
- Failure = Growth
The second step to encouraging risk taking is to have a positive attitude around failure. No truly innovative business will come without its fair share of failures, and creating an environment where failure is supported and not punished will mean staff will continue to be more likely to take those risks (within reason, and calculated risk, of course). Oftentimes, what will stop an employee from taking a risk is the chance of that idea failing. It is only in a business that tolerates mistakes, and rewards lessons learnt that will find themselves with innovative solutions and staff members.
- Free Time Frees Brain Space
We all know that good business practice involves taking time away from your work every 90-120 minutes and taking a short break. This gives people some time to switch off and recharge, meaning they can get back into it more ready to work and less fatigued. It also means that taking this time away from immediate tasks at hand will give workers – especially those in creative fields – some time to think about other things while in a low stress environment. This can result in finding innovative and creative solutions when the onus isn’t on completing a task to a deadline – rather they’re just thinking about it on their own terms.
- Create Creative Spaces
Having physical spaces in which people want to spend time, and which creates an area for creative thinking will produce more innovative problem solving. Making sure breakout areas are readily available to staff, and that they are designed in ways that encourage unwinding and refreshing will help workers switch out of their practical brains and into their creative brains. This will in turn relate to how they approach tasks when they get back to their desks.
Creating a work environment that fosters creativity and innovation can take some trial and error to find out what works best for your particular people. Encouraging risks, expecting failure, changing things up and (most importantly) allowing room to breathe and be creative will all help to create an environment in which productivity, creativity and innovation all come to be the norm. If you need help creating a space and environment in which innovation and creativity comes naturally, sign up for our newsletter to have useful tips and tricks sent to your inbox every month.
Photographer: Lisa Atkinson
Space: Group Four