How To Make Your Company More Innovative

Look around the business world (and your industry in particular) and you’ll find that the most successful companies are also the most innovative. Likewise, the companies that fold under pressure tend to lack innovation.

There are exceptions to this rule, but they’re few and far between. Innovation is the heartbeat of a successful organization. The question is, how can you make your own company more innovative so that you can reap the benefits and rewards?

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The Power Of Innovation

Innovation is the edge that companies need to succeed in homogenous industries where products, branding, slogans, and boilerplates all tend to look similar. It’s the fuel that pushes average businesses to become great organizations. More specifically innovation:

  • Improves sales. Innovation does a couple of things for your sales. First off, it wakes up your current customers and convinces them to buy more of your products and services. Secondly, it helps you attract new customers who never would have previously purchased from you.
  • Enhances branding. Innovation powers compelling branding. It can basically sell your products for you. This leads to an elevated market position that allows you to reach people with more powerful and persuasive messages that convey clear value.
  • Strengthens culture. It’s fun and exciting to work for an innovative company. There’s a sense of camaraderie and purpose. Not only that, but there’s greater productivity and efficiency. This all leads to a healthier culture and improved employee relations and retention.

Innovation isn’t easy to find, but the benefits are quite clear. If you want to grow your company and position yourself to be a market leader in your niche for years to come, it starts with becoming more innovative.

Tips For Creating An Innovative Culture

Creating an innovative culture takes time; however, it all starts with small steps. Here are several ways you can encourage more innovation in your company:

1. Unleash Your Employees

One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is thinking all of their innovation happens in the C-suite. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In many cases, the C-suite is actually the worst place for innovation to occur. After all, we know too much. We’ve become cemented to our own ideas and aren’t always willing to think outside the box. In reality, some of the best innovation happens in the “ground floor” of your business. But you won’t know that until you unleash your employees and give them permission to create.

Companies like Google, 3M, and a host of others are known for letting their employees spend 15 to 20 percent of their time each week working on creative side projects, innovations, and ideas – and it pays dividends for them. (This is how Gmail and Google Earth were created, by the way.)

In addition to creating space for your employees to innovate, you should also be prepared to reward them for their creativity. For example, you might promise a certain percentage of net revenue in perpetuity for any employee who comes up with a new product.

2. Partner With Creatives

If you’re lacking a certain type of innovative skills inside of your business, partner with others who can fill that gap. For example, software and application development might not be your thing. But what would it look like to partner with a Python developer to launch a brand new web application that your industry has never seen? All it takes is a willingness to push beyond the four walls of your company and leverage the skills and creativity of others.

3. Require Time Off

The idea that creative breakthroughs come from just working a little bit harder is often false. Creativity isn’t usually the result of grinding out 60- and 70-hour weeks. In most cases, it happens as a result of letting your mind roam.

Don’t just give your employees the permission to take time off – require them to take it! There are countless studies showing how time away from work recharges mental batteries and makes you more innovative. For example, unplugged activities like hiking in nature can boost creativity by up to 50 percent!

Adding It All Up

Innovation must be given room to breathe. You can’t force it or rely on a copy-and-paste formula. There’s a certain amount of creativity and free-thinking required. But as long as you set your team up to be successful, they’ll have a chance to impress you.

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