To remain ahead of the competition, companies need to consistently create new solutions to existing problems. Innovation excites customers, and excited customers remain engaged with your brand. To develop a culture of innovation in your company, take a serious look at the environment where your team works and how they work together. Don’t be afraid to unleash your employees and let them follow their passions. The results may surprise you.
A big part of building a company that’s designed to stand the test of time is to remove the barriers your employees have to expressing their opinion. Your team needs to feel comfortable sharing their concerns. Otherwise you run the risk of losing buy-in from your team, and missing opportunities to improve your products and services. Every member of your team brings a different perspective to the organization.
If a team member disagrees with your company’s concept or implementation of your service, seek first to understand their concern before dismissing them, or shutting them down. Disagreement is good. It challenges the idea and will hopefully result in a better final product.
1 Hour of Free Time
Google employees are always asked about their experience at work. As one of the largest tech companies in the world, Google has a reputation of using unorthodox methods to getting the best out of their team. One of these methods is building free-time into their team’s schedule so that employees can work on something they’re passionate about.
For passionate employees, being able to use a company’s resources to work on something that excites them is an excellent way to inspire innovation. Since an employee is working on this passion during their office hours, using company resources, the finished product technically belongs to the company. This is how services like Gmail and Google Docs came into existence. Passionate employees bringing innovation to a company that gives them the power to pursue their interests.
Minimize Barriers Between Corporate and Customers
One of the worst things a company can do is build barriers between the executives of the company and the customers they serve. Executives should spend time every week directly interacting with customers in one way or another. This gives your leadership team the ability to understand the issues customers face first-hand, as well as the aspects of an employee’s job that could be improved upon. Getting leadership directly involved leads to a better customer experience and improved working conditions for employees. Innovation is the child of necessity, so make innovation something that leadership feels is a necessity for their job, and the jobs of those around them.
Innovate in Building Blocks
New concepts and ideas aren’t born all at once. Meaningful innovation takes time and input from multiple people. To get the best end-result, break up problems into various components. Let your teams work together to solve each piece of the problem, and then bring those pieces together to form an innovative solution to the problems your customers and your company face.
Understand Employee Passions
Your employees decide the success or failure of your brand every day. The supervisors in your organization need to devote their energy to understanding the passions of the employees that work with them. Engaged employees that feel passionate about what they’re doing are far more likely to contribute to innovative solutions within the company.
The more relaxed your office environment becomes, the easier it will be for employees to get “in the zone” and think through problems. Solutions are the result of consistent thought and testing. Your team should feel at home and comfortable while at work. If employees feel truly relaxed, they’ll be more willing to put in longer hours and continue the work necessary to build an exciting future for the company.
To effectively work together and tackle problems, team members need to form meaningful relationships with each other. A company full of employees that consider themselves friends as well as coworkers will see incredible teamwork leading to meaningful innovation. One way to help employees build friendships is by hosting company retreats. Get the team out of the office and into a fun, relaxing atmosphere where team sports can be played, or obstacle courses can be challenged through a focus on teamwork.
Create a Unified Corporate Vision
Your team needs to understand where the company is headed. Spend time clearly communicating your corporate vision. If employees understand where the company is headed, they’ll better be able to envision the future and bring fresh perspectives to the table.
Create Customer Solutions Instead of Sales
The best companies create solutions for customers. Selling a product is far easier if it’s part of a comprehensive solution to a problem that the customer is facing. Make the use of your product or service easy for customers. The less hassle in their lives, the more likely they are to part with their hard earned cash. Your team needs to be galvanized around understanding your consumer and then enhancing their life with the products and services they need.