Innovation. It’s a powerful buzz word, talked about constantly amongst entrepreneurs and business owners. Innovation, as defined, is the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices, or methods. For product owners, it’s about imagining, creating and inventing, and is the key to creating a more forward-thinking and transformative solution for customers. But fostering an innovative culture takes some work, and requires a solid team, built on an equally solid foundation.
Earlier this year, Forbes magazine released a list of the world’s most innovative companies, which ranked the companies based on an innovation premium. The list included companies like Salesforce, Amazon and Starbucks in its top 20: all forward-thinking companies that paint a great picture of what it means to be innovative. As a growing staffing software company, Avionté is taking strides to be more innovative, each and every day. The list and its corresponding articles are great resources for advice on how to make a business more successful.
Below is a list of five key things to take away from their study results, all beneficial steps to take, for any business looking to become more innovative:
1. Assess your current state. Consider your company and its customer base. What do people currently think of your company? What hurdles, if any, would your company need to overcome to be seen as a leader and forward-thinker down the line? And make sure your vision for what you want your company to be is clearly defined and accessible throughout your company.
2. Build the team. To make progress as a forward-thinking, creative company, you need to have employees that are willing to take on that mindset. When hiring new employees, make sure they align well with your company’s culture and vision for the future. And make sure your management team is fully on board. You’ll need a strong leadership team that will stand behind new ideas and processes and that will set a good example for the rest of your team.
3. Build the culture. The founder of Salesforce, the #1 company on this year’s list, Marc Benioff said building creative capabilities in others is an extremely important part of building company innovation. Think of how your company could inspire employees to think in more creative ways, and reward your current employees for speaking up and bringing forward new ideas.
4. Build the environment. Is your office environment conducive to creative thinking? Avionté recently added new room to its corporate office space. With two glass walls, a hexagon-shaped table and modern green office chairs, what the company calls its innovation room was designed to foster more creative and innovative thought processes. Make sure your office has a creative meeting place for your employees. Getting past the traditional, dated office look will likely get your employees to think outside the box.
5. Mix things up. The quickest way to hold people back from developing their next big idea is to keep them stable. Once you’ve got a great team, culture, and environment in place, get your employees to think in different ways by assembling people from multiple departments, with different ways of thinking for group brainstorming sessions. See what could happen when you encourage mixed collaboration.
With these steps, you’ll be well on your way to establishing a more innovative workplace.