New products, services and processes are a great way to increase your revenue and strengthen the bottom line. Management consultant Vino Mehta offers this guide to creating a culture of innovation:
1. Generate ideas. Encourage every employee to come up with ideas on how your product or service can be improved. Do not reject ideas if they seem laughable or unworkable. Lead the team to build on those ideas to see if they can be made workable and to fit the “criteria of acceptance.” Innovation is a team sport. Recognize and lavishly reward the whole team.
2. Identify and remove “pain points.” Insist that your employees learn about how products are used and about consumer needs. Those insights will identify consumers’ pain points. All innovation must be designed around resolving those pain points.
3. Nurture an open atmosphere. Ensure that people feel secure to speak up without fear of reprisals or repercussions. Employees will show courage when they see that their necks will not be chopped off if they stick them out. It should be OK to say, “I do not know this. Can someone help me find the solution?” The mantra should be, “Failure is just a step away from success.”
4. Create purpose. Make the business so purposeful that it touches people’s souls. It should create meaning in their lives, inspire them, and bring out their passion and creativity. They should love coming to work every day and become crusaders for their company. Then, employees will commit not only to staying ahead of the game, but creating a new game.
5. Eliminate barriers. Break down all silos in the business. Innovation is a collaborative and social phenomenon. It requires extensive teamwork. Have people connect both inside and outside the company to listen to fresh, new ideas to tweak their curiosity and imagination. When people from cross-functional teams work together, they can build on each other’s ideas and the sky is the limit!