To answer this question let’s start with what innovation is not.
- Innovation is not an overly complex process.
- Innovation doesn’t necessitate technology.
- Innovation doesn’t require investment
- Innovation is best created without a formal structure or functional responsibility
That’s right, I’m bucking all trends and suggesting to you that innovation is something that you can introduce and sustain, and it costs nothing more than a change in how we think, and more importantly how you interact with your employees.
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In my book Operational Empowerment: Collaborate, Innovate and Engage to Beat the Competition I discuss various sources of innovation, but the one that is the easiest to tap into and that yields the most value exists with your employees.
I recently spoke at a convention to discuss with Presidents and CEOs how they can introduce innovation through their employees and (most importantly) do so at virtually no cost.
Here are the top 3 ways to drive innovation with and through your employees:
- Solicit ideas: You have to ask for ideas or you won’t receive. Make sure that employees are clear on your desire to receive ideas that they believe will improve your business, products, services and customer relationships.
- Put time on their side: There are companies like Walt Disney where employees are encouraged to invest time in pursuing new and creative ideas. Of course you may not have the resources that Walt Disney has, but what can you do on a smaller scale to allow employees the opportunity to pursue their creative ideas?
- Employee initiatives: The number one complaint I hear from employees is that there are simply too many management initiatives. If you are to tap into the creativity and innovation your employees can offer, you have to treat their ideas as a priority. Put another way, reduce the number of management initiatives and increase the number of employee initiatives.
It’s time to take innovation off of the pedestal it’s inadvertently been placed on, and place it back where it belongs. In the minds and hands of your employee.
© Shawn Casemore 2016. All rights reserved.
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