Innovation. Some inspiring synonyms come to mind… improvement, revolution, modernisation, invention, advance… They can also seem quite daunting, especially if you’re a small team or one man band who has to play every role from the CIO to the receptionist. Who has time for innovation?
Don’t beat yourself up if you think over changes to systems, process, products and services over the past year and decide your business hasn’t made huge advancements. Innovations don’t have to be large scale. Innovations can be made in hops and steps as well as big leaps. Most often it’s the baby steps made that eventually get you to a place where you look back and think ‘wow, those moves definitely made a difference to the success of my business.’
We recently ran an exercise where everyone was encouraged to post to Yammer a small, medium or large improvement they had made to the way they worked or what they produced. It was a real eye opener to an amazing array of advancements different divisions had been making and it was a great way to recognise and motivate staff.
Importantly, many posts were about small hops and steps towards a greater good, a greater good that couldn’t be achieved if those changes weren’t being made.
Innovation is very much a part of our vernacular here. Time flies in business and if our minds aren’t regularly ticking over the opportunities offered up then the chances to make time-relevant innovations may pass you by.
How are you going with fostering a workplace where innovation is a part of the culture? Think about incorporating it via simple activities such as:
- Adding innovation as an agenda item at each WIP and encouraging staff to bring their ideas and observations, no matter how seemingly mundane, crazy or obscure
- Including an area on your intranet or noticeboard where staff members can post their innovative ideas and actions
- Rewarding team members with hop, step and jump Innovation of the Month/Quarter prizes
- Writing about your innovations in your e-newsletter so clients and suppliers can be proud they deal with a progressive business
- Incentivise those clients and suppliers to suggest innovations for your business, eg. best idea per month wins a discount, gift card and/or is featured in your newsletter
I highly recommend doing a stocktake on the innovations you’ve implemented over the past few months and bank them like the gold nuggets they are. We’ve just done so and it’s given us an opportunity to pat ourselves on the back because they really do add up. Taking time to reflect has not only encouraged us to be even prouder of our work but it’s encouraged us to be even more innovative, which can only be a good thing for the business.