Getting your people to Embrace Change and Promote Innovation requires training and development. Everyday tasks can be easily learned, using procedural manuals for reference and following a step-by-step method.
This procedural approach will help an employee to master their role, and perhaps even grow professionally. But ask yourself this question: will such strict adherence to current procedures and methods produce the growth you need to remain ahead of your competition and achieve your business goals?
Unique Ideas Capture Customers and Embrace Change and Promote Innovation
Ideas are the lifeblood of any business. It is ideas that allow an organisation to be innovative and create new products. It is these new products that capture the hearts and minds – and pockets – of customers.
Apple, generally considered as one of the world’s most innovative companies ever, has created an entire globe of loyal customers from its innovative approach. It took what the music industry was doing at the time and developed the iPod, but only after it had created the infrastructure to support its product.
From this innovation, Apple then went on to give customers the iPhone and the iPad. It is now working on iTV. All the while it is building on customer loyalty and building its customer base. What it hasn’t done is sit still.
Innovation is the management of continual change and evolution, of technology, products, and processes.
Innovation is the Music to Business Ears
Spotify is an example of another company that has embraced change and promoted innovation to fill a gap in a market. The company launched when music piracy was high. People, fed up with high download prices, were becoming accepting of pirated content because of affordability. Effectively, a new market sector had been created.
What Spotify did was address this issue. It offered affordable downloads to members through subscription, negating the need for illegal downloads. Now its members can download as much music as they like, without breaking the law and at a price they can afford.
Innovation like this is a classic example of how creative thinking and acceptance of change can work hand in hand to develop market leading products and company value.
Engaging employees in Creative Thinking
For many organisations, developing an environment where innovation is encouraged requires innovation itself. But gone are the days where change and innovation are led by a few people at the top of a pyramidal structured company. Real change and the innovation that leads to the achievement of business goals require total employee engagement.
Pitney Bowes realised that it had fallen behind its competitors. Its new product line had virtually dried up, and staff turnover was high. Costs began to soar, and customer retention drooped. In efforts to improve its future, the company looked to increase its internal idea generation.
It completely redesigned its interior office space, and created a clam, village like atmosphere. It then encouraged employees to use these new facilities as a focal point for communication and community building. There was a village square and café where open discourse was encouraged, and managers and leaders would talk openly with staff. Trust grew, communication developed, idea generation flourished.
This workplace based approach to its strategic problems triggered new growth, with numerous products launched successfully because of the more open environment, increased collaboration, and engaged employees.
4 Things You Can Do To Embrace Change and Promote Innovation
Pitney Bowes took its need to change and become more innovative to an extreme. To achieve similar results you don’t have to undertake a complete office redesign, but you do have to embrace the need to change – and that includes training your staff to’ think out-of-the-box’.
Here are four things you can do now to increase employee engagement and foster an environment where ideas will (apparently) generate themselves.
Hold regular brainstorming sessions
Involving staff in early stage decision making allows them to take ownership of issues and problems. When employees realise the self-interest benefits of a change initiative, and feel involved from the beginning as part of that change, they will naturally put forward ideas for process or product change.
Brainstorming sessions are a great tool to produce ideas and encourage collaboration and community. Remember, though, that such sessions must be held regularly and be sustained.
Lead Innovation by Example
Train your staff to be different by being different yourself. Show them how you make your decisions; come up with new ideas, and how you think. Get them to begin thinking about disadvantages and advantages, and take a more cynical approach to creative ideas. Thinking about downsides tips the balance in favour of success.
Reward Innovative Thinking
Employees that are scared to think innovatively won’t. Just because an idea won’t work, doesn’t mean that there should be no reward for the idea. If you want to foster an environment of idea generation, then you need to encourage those ideas to be voiced.
Reward the idea by having the temerity to discuss it. Give the employee your time, and take it as opportunity to further teach creative thought processes.
Don’t be afraid to offer reward for creative ideas that are unique and can be taken further. Staff will work harder to come up with these ideas if they are recognised for them.
Traditional employee training and development does not include idea generation and freedom to think differently. If you want your company to be truly innovative, then put in place the environment that allows your top managers to teach innovative thinking to their people.
That doesn’t mean ripping up the rulebook, but it does mean allowing it to be interpreted more innovatively.