How to Teach Your Employees to Cultivate Innovation

Tuesday December 20th, 2016

employees_creativeInnovation is a key component of any successful business. In order for your company to grow and stay relevant in the ever-changing marketplace, you need to build a team of creative thinkers who can cohesively generate new ideas that will drive your business forward. While creativity cannot be forced, it can be nurtured in an environment that you carefully cultivate as an employer and leader. Here are a few ways to build that environment and allow your innovators to thrive.

Hire for Creativity

To build a community of innovators, you may need to adjust your metrics for hiring. Because you cannot force creativity, you should be sure to bring on employees who share your desire for innovation and who will be assets to the environment you are trying to create. This doesn’t mean you should hire every person who marches to the beat of his/her own drum just for the sake of creativity. Make sure that you are hiring employees who demonstrate a talent for focused creativity, and who can put those ideas to work.

Give potential new hires the opportunity to demonstrate their creativity by presenting a challenge question that will test not just their answer, but the thought process they used to get it. Finding innovators for your company requires you to evaluate their creative process from start to finish. Consider a problem you’ve faced within the company and ask them to solve it.

Filling your office roster with the best and brightest is the first step to cultivating an innovative environment, and will make it easier to maintain in the long run.

Don’t Stop the Learning Process

Once you’ve hired a creative team who has learned the ins and outs of your company, don’t let the learning stop there. Provide opportunities for your team members to expand their horizons and develop their creativity. Their growth will directly impact the growth of your company and will only bring you more success.

Offer workshop opportunities where they could learn from the best in the business, or get inspired by new challenges. A creative mind needs activity, so by offering stimulating learning opportunities, you are sure to keep your innovators thinking big.

Be Realistic and Understanding

While the need for deadlines is obvious, make sure that the deadlines you set for your team are realistic and fully allow them to tap into their creative processes. The stress and pressure that is often created by strict deadlines could be a roadblock to innovation. By setting more relaxed standards, you offer the opportunity for each of your employees to do their best work.

Setting realistic deadlines involves an understanding of your employees and their work habits. Get to know your team and their processes so you can establish a practical timeline for future projects.

Reward Experimentation

It’s impossible to hit a home run every time you step up to the plate, but make sure that in this innovative environment you are creating, you reward experimentation. Even if experiments are unsuccessful, your employees should feel free to share them. Don’t stifle creativity by frowning upon experimentation.

Positive affirmation is a very powerful tool in motivating any team. Confidence breeds creativity. Give your employees a voice to share their thoughts and use those opportunities to build on the ideas together. It will create an environment that is ripe for innovation.

These are just a few ways to encourage and teach your employees to cultivate an innovative environment. How do you cultivate innovation in your own workplace?