Thinking outside of the box can be a challenge when you are stuck in the same environment every day. Innovation is a beautiful part of the business world, but sometimes it takes a special environment to foster those new ideas and keep your organization from falling stagnant.
So how do you prevent your team from falling into a familiar roadblock?
We asked ten thought leaders to share their favorite ways to promote innovation in a team environment and find those exciting ideas.
Look For Opportunities
Always be looking for new opportunities and try to enter them quickly. Allow team members to look into the untouched markets or sub-markets to enter into. Don’t confine them to the current market you are in with stubborn competitors, let them look into other markets and see what they come up with!
- Henry Babich, Stomadent Dental Laboratory
Encourage Self Problem-Solving
Solicit an “ask for forgiveness rather than permission” attitude among your team. If your employees are scared to fail or feel like they can't make a decision without clearance from upper management, this will kill all action for innovation. Give your employees the environment and opportunities to think through problems and innovate to get things done.
- Kenna Hamm, Texas Adoption Center
Avoiding Group Think
We encourage our team members to work on our ideas and projects individually at first, and then as a group later. We found that when we ask our people to think about a new idea or project by themselves and email us or talk with us alone, they don't get caught up in group think. We lay out all the ideas to the group as a whole and go through them. This way when we do meet as a team the loudest or most convincing person doesn't always carry the room.
- Ben Walker, Transcription Outsourcing, LLC
Think Outside the Box Time
Give your employees time during the workday to dream, doodle, or experiment with ideas that they wouldn't otherwise explore. Let them know that they have permission to think outside the box and have scheduled time to innovate!
- John Yardley, Threads
Gamification is always the answer
The newer generations respond very positively to being challenged in a non-formal way. By inducing seemingly casual sessions with a game element, teams will have a higher chance of entering a certain creative state. This may help them to be more open to new ideas.
- Snezhina Piskova, Oliver Wicks
Organizations can reward innovative ideas based on operational or organizational issues in the company. One way to generate these suggestions is to launch a company-wide search that will offer incentives to those who can come up with feasible long-term solutions.
-Michael Hammelburger, The Bottom Line Group
Judgement Free Environment
You need to let people feel safe enough to share. The more outlandish the better. Let people know they won't get in trouble for any idea or improvement they suggest.
-Chris Cucchiara, Personal Develop Fit
Celebrate Your Strikeouts
It's impossible to hit home runs every at-bat. As an organization, you have to have a "swing at the ball" mentality. However, sometimes you'll strikeout. When you do, celebrate your new experience and get ready for the next opportunity.
- Layton Cox, Marketing Consultant
Teams need to feel safe to make mistakes, otherwise they will stick to what is already proven. Ever seen the same big Hollywood blockbuster four times? High budget, high stakes teams that cannot publicly fail stick to formulas that work. Let your teams know that mistakes are learning experiences that can lead to innovation. Or prepare for Mission Impossible 16.
- Amy Feind Reeves, JobCoachAmy
Set a Space for Creativity
Innovation requires space for creativity. Organizations typically thrive off of structure and routines, but it is imperative that teams are given an opportunity to think outside the box and go beyond their normal limits. Having specific days and times where staff can collectively brainstorm without limits is a great start. When you lift the restrictions, people feel freer to come up with new and exciting ideas.
- Emily Bosak, Markitors