One of the reasons that successful businesses are so successful is because they are innovative.
Jeff Bezos told Forbes that he believes that “Amazon will be a long-term innovator because he’s made it part of everyone’s job.”
The buck stops with you
How do you make your business an innovative business?
As the boss, you have to set the tone: you have to think and act innovatively, you have to be seen to be innovative. But you can’t do it all yourself, you have to encourage your staff to be divergent thinkers. Help your people to understand that thinking innovatively is not some abstract business principle, it is simply finding solutions to ordinary problems, turning challenges into opportunities, and it’s what you want them to do, it’s in everyone’s job description: “So there’s a problem, be creative, tell me how you are going to solve it.”
“Effectively, every employee can be an innovator and can change the way we conduct business,” says Michael Jordaan, CEO of FNB, the 2012 world’s most innovative bank, quoted by SAinfo.
Do what I do
But talk is cheap, we easily get caught up in the pressure of getting all our daily tasks done, how do you actually walk the talk?
Put in systems and mechanisms in place to help them come up with ideas: let your staff know that you want them to explore unusual ideas, experiment with new ways of doing things. You could place a suggestions box near the coffee station and invite people to propose better ways to do everyday jobs (e.g. find better delivery routes using Google Maps, or add value to customers’ experience by giving them a little gift).
By thinking innovatively, you can help your businesses to offer something different, something better to your customers.
When a staff member comes up with a great idea, evaluate it and if it has merit, put it into practice, trumpet it to your market, get mileage out of it.
Then recognise your people for being imaginative, you could give them a bonus at an awards ceremony.
… and don’t forget to congratulate yourself for your obvious genius in taking this novel approach to making your business successful.
first posted: 2014/05/01
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What do you think? Can one learn to think innovatively or do you have to be born with it in your genes. Please comment.