Innovation means being creative, thinking outside the box, to discover new ways of doing things.
Creativity and innovation in the workplace can be vital to the success of a business because they allow for better processes, more engaged staff and ultimately happier customers.
So how can you cultivate creativity and innovation in the workplace?
The first step is an aligned vision.
- Where do you see your business in the next five years?
- How do you want your customers to see you?
- What values does your organisation support?
Discuss your vision with your team so everyone understands and supports the same goals.
The right environment is also crucial because when our minds are relaxed, our ideas flow – it’s why inspiration often strikes us in the shower! Creating an easygoing and flexible workplace helps staff feel relaxed and responsive to new ideas.
Each member of your team has a unique background, different passions and varied capabilities. Support this diversity by encouraging ideas from everyone.
Nurturing innovation in the workplace is an ongoing process. Here are some ideas on how to inspire greater innovation in your company.
Host a monthly innovation workshop over lunch or morning tea. You could take it in turns to host and write down the ideas. Remember, no idea is a bad idea when brainstorming. Encourage colleagues to openly express any new ideas or concepts. Even an idea that sounds out of this world could spur on something amazing.
Hour of power
The daily distractions of the office can make it difficult to focus. Meetings, phone calls and emails can prevent you from dedicating the required time to completing a task. An hour of power in the office is an opportunity to switch off from these interruptions and work on scheduled tasks. Leave the email unanswered and return that phone call in an hour to allow your mind to fully focus on the task at hand. You could dedicate a set one-hour period for the whole office or take turns in the team, if your workplaces need constant client contact.
Get outside among nature and take some inspiration from the sights and sounds of our natural world. Breathing the fresh air into your lungs and feeling the sunshine on your skin can help you relax and open your mind to new possibilities. Host an innovation workshop outdoors on a pleasant day or encourage staff to take a break outside to make the most of the surrounding natural environment.
Take a break
Taking some time off is vital for our body and mind. Annual leave, weekends, evenings and lunch breaks help us all achieve a healthy work/life balance and assists us to recharge and re-energise. Suggesting staff to switch off during these breaks can help them come back reinvigorated and full new ideas.
A break is also an important strategy at work. A simple five-minute stretch or a breath of fresh air out of doors can help spark new thought processes so encourage breaks at regular intervals, particularly if your workplace involves a lot of screen time.
Encourage problem solving
Empower your team members to find and implement their own solutions. Problem solving provides confidence and can lead to a more innovative workforce. When employees are regularly given ownership of their problems, no obstacle seems impossible to overcome.