Every business has the power to be innovative, but there are certain steps you need to take.
Disruption is a fact of life for industries today. Cassettes disrupted the vinyl record industry and then were disrupted themselves by the iPod. Digital cameras disrupted the photographic film industry and now cameras have virtually been replaced by iPhones and Androids. The hotel and travel industry have been disrupted by online travel sites and gig companies like airbnb and HomeAway.
In order to just keep pace with disruption, companies must be willing to accept the fact that the status quo will only be viable for so long and that it is essential to be open to innovation. There needs to be a further understanding that innovative ideas can come from anywhere and anyone, in or out of the company. Jane Clark, Vice President of Member Services for NationaLease discusses how to become an innovative organization in her recent blog.
Jane notes that innovation doesn’t just happen; it needs to be a top-down driven part of company culture and she offers steps that companies need to take to promote and enact great ideas:
- Make clear that management is there to listen to employees and remove any barriers to that communication.
- Breakdown any silos when it comes to information. People can’t contribute actionable ideas without having all the facts at hand.
- Be sure employees know that their ideas are valued, appreciated, and will be seriously considered.
- Be willing to have ideas fail. We sometimes learn more from failure than from our successes. Plus a “bad” idea today may turn out to be a brilliant concept later on.
- Don’t limit the time and place for suggestions and ideas. Offer a space either real or virtual (online) where employees and management can express themselves.
- Consider offering rewards for ideas that are successfully implemented. Incentivizing employees often produces greater participation. Also, make sure to offer public recognition of the winning employee. This may encourage others to become involved.
We live in a competitive world, so complacency is a recipe for failure. Being innovative is no longer a luxury; it’s a necessity. Here’s the reality: innovate or be left behind.
Read all of Jane’s blogs to learn more about important issues impacting the industry and business in general.