How Can Managers Encourage Innovation?

Innovation is the heartbeat of any successful modern business, and every manager should look to encourage it from their team. When they get it right, navigating the ever-changing landscapes and consumer demands becomes a far easier assignment.

Research has shown that two-in-three companies cite innovation as a vital feature of their ongoing success. Here’s how managers can encourage it in four easy steps.

1. Integrate innovation as a natural feature 

Our Head of Marketing Vicky Zachareli explains: “Time for innovation should be something you have in your everyday operations. It's not like ‘oh, every Friday afternoon I will dedicate four hours to that’. To be a culture, it should be something that is embedded within a company.”

By its very nature, innovative ideas could surface at any moment. You do not want to let rigid company guidelines stifle this way of thinking. A Gartner study showed that the main driving forces of innovation are customer experiences, revenue growth, and product development. Managers should encourage employees to always introduce their ideas and concepts.

Innovation can take many forms. For example, Wohntraum’s vision was to end social inequality in home ownership. Through the implementation of tools like KICKBOX, companies have the potential of generating new businesses and encouraging startups and spin-outs to grow from them. 

 

2. Empower and engage your employees

The human mindset is the most powerful tool at anybody’s disposal. Frankly, if your employees are not engaged with the company or feel disillusioned with their role in the company, innovation will be very difficult to initiate.

Workers need to care for projects, which is why encouraging them to innovate and submit their own ideas is vital. Siemens Energy is a great example of how KICKBOX, an intrapreneurial tool, can unlock an employee’s full potential at an early stage. When employees feel connected to a company’s objective and have a voice that is heard, they’ll be more likely to use it.

However, it is important to avoid any threat of burnout. Up to 84% of millennials feel burnout at work. When they do, their focus is simply on getting the job done rather than innovating. Because KICKBOX is a gamified solution, it’s fun for employees to take part in innovation.

 

3. Remove the fear of failure

As humans, we constantly look to weigh up the risks and rewards of various situations. In business, changing employee mindsets and attitudes will be one of the most important factors. Embracing an adaptive culture with a focus on psychological safety is vital.

Research shows that 95% of all product innovations fail. Unfortunately, employees who are not supported by the emotional safety net will soon fall victim to the fear of failure after just one or two ineffective ideas. In turn, it could prevent them from voicing an idea that could potentially become a game changer for the business.

Thanks to the iterative approach of idea testing offered by KICKBOX - which is based in the concept of ‘fail early, fail fast, fail cheap’ - and other valuable tools, even failed ideas won’t disrupt productivity or harm the company’s financial future.

 

4. Set an example

Finally, you cannot expect employees to engage in innovation if you do not do it yourself. Once you know how to measure innovation, it becomes a lot easier to analyze yourself and make the alterations needed to set an example. This includes using intrapreneurial software.

It is shown that 79% of employees quit due to a lack of appreciation. Good leaders form strong connections with their teams while also developing a level playing field. A staff member who feels that everyone is in the same boat will naturally be more inclined to embrace innovative thinking. Not only when they get rewarded.

Innovation is the foundation of all successful projects and will subsequently influence everything from productivity to profitability. Managers who make it a priority will reap the rewards.

Let us give you and your team the tools to encourage innovation in your company. If you're rready to motivate your employees and transform your business, then reach out to us.

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