Always Be Innovating – Give Your Employees Space
In a large corporate innovation can very easily overlooked, as so much effort is required to keep the wheels of the business turning. But without innovation, it can be and often is detrimental to the long-term growth or even sustainability of the business itself.
So, just how does one encourage innovating within a large company?
Small companies and entrepreneurs thrive on innovation, innovation is the very lifeblood of their existence and the same attitude of continuous development through innovation must be part of a company culture in a large organization. “Innovate or Die” has been the cry of many leaders in the last decade and it is not just about keeping up with technology or doing things better. Innovation can mean removing technology and return to an old-fashioned way of doing things but above all, it is about doing things differently as well as better with an equal benefit for both the business and the customer.
Innovating within a corporation should be identified and core pillar of the organization, and should be encouraged and even rewarded. Innovation does not just happen overnight,but in a company where innovative ideas are encouraged, it may feel like it. “There is no such thing as a stupid question” is a well-known phrase and when someone asks you “why do we do this like that?” it is often completely misread and the reason for asking may well be a missed opportunity to do things different and/or better.
“Why do we do this like that?” may seem like a stupid question to ask, and many senior managers and executives themselves may not truly know the answer it. The answer they give will invariably be “because that is how we have always done it” and some will make it worse and answer it “because that is how the consultants told us to do it”. When the question is asked the light that reads “Innovation alert” should immediately flash and a bell should ring because the question opens up the opportunity to actually question said the process that “is done like that”.
Innovation very often comes from the least likely places, yes senior executives have great ideas but those lower down the ranks may see things differently or live with circumstances that could raise questions over the “because we have always done it like that” type of answer. Innovation requires a couple of steps, it needs an idea, it needs someone with the courage to raise the idea to the right person and it needs the right manager to raise it further and take action to either prove it or disprove it. Not listening out for or not encouraging those with innovative ideas to come forward is the biggest reason why so many companies fail to innovate, it is not because they don’t know how to innovate it is simply because the culture of innovation and lack of reward or recognition for innovation is non-existent or at the very least flawed.
It is easier today than ever before for someone with a bright idea, something innovative that could change your company or the company they work for and set up on their own and take the idea to market. Technology and easy communication between people vast distances apart mean if your company won’t take an idea seriously someone who will be easily found. Very often the person with the innovative idea has thought it through in a great deal more detail than realised and if you won’t listen to they knew somebody else will.
So, how do you innovate in a corporation? Simple, you establish a culture of innovation that encourages, respects and rewards good ideas. Always Be Innovating.