6 Ways to Inspire Business Innovation

We often think of America as a leading innovator in global history, but there are times when our status as one of the most innovative nations in the world starts to slip. For example, in 2018, America was no longer ranked as one of the top three innovators in the world. (Fortunately, we regained that status in 2019.)

Innovation isn’t just something that happens on a mass scale. All of us should be focused on individual innovation and personal growth. Businesses of all sizes and ages should always want to find new ways to approach business innovation.

What do you do when business innovation begins to stagnate? How can you encourage your employees to tap into their imaginations and bring innovation back to the workplace?

Read on to learn six ways that you can inspire business innovation and kick the creativity up a notch.

1. Worry Less About Failure

One of the biggest things that can discourage innovation in the business world is an overarching fear of failure. It makes sense to want to invest time and resources only into those ideas that bring about success. However, you can’t let that drive for success make you too scared to try anything new at all.

Keeping business innovation alive is a success in and of itself. Take a look at what Jasdeep Singh from Connecticut has to say on the matter. Remember that encouraging innovation leads to positive growth and positive feelings in the workplace. 

2. Curb the Workplace Competitiveness 

We tend to reach for competitions when we’re hoping to drive up productivity in our employees. We may incentivize out-selling or out-performing coworkers. The issue is that when we rely too heavily on competition, we breed an environment where collaboration is out of the picture.

Assess how often your business uses competitive tactics. In addition, assess how well your employees seem to work together. Does your workplace culture thrive on teamwork or do you find that most people prefer to go it alone?

If you find that you’ve fostered a team of individualists, it’s time to curb the workplace competition. How will this help stoke the fires of innovation? When your employees are less focused on beating each other in a footrace, they have more time and energy to think of new and creative ideas.

3. Mix Up Your Teams

Another reason you should curb the competition is that innovation often stems from teamwork. Two people may both carry a separate piece of the puzzle. Coming together and discussing ideas can lead to more fleshed-out ideas and plans, especially when those people are coming from different areas of expertise.

If things are getting stale around your workplace, try mixing up your teams. Assign people who rarely work together on the same project. Foster new relationships that can lead to impressive innovations that may never have come about, otherwise. 

4. Don’t Create Barriers Between You and Your Employees

How often do you talk to your employees? How often do you allow them to be part of the decision-making process? How often are you shutting them out of those important conversations?

If you’re not letting your employees participate in meetings and other modes of communication, you may be missing out on their ideas. You may also be sending the signal that you’re not interested in what they have to say. When your employees get the feeling that they’re only there to do as they’re told, they aren’t going to bring their creative ideas to your attention. 

If it’s not possible to open the doors to all of your employees all of the time, there are other ways that you can show that their ideas matter. Consider hosting a round-table meeting once a week or once a month. During this meeting, encourage your employees to share any ideas they have as well as any methods they’ve used to improve their own productivity. 

5. Refresh Your Work-Life Balance Tactics

It is important for employers to keep burnout in mind. Burnout occurs when an employee feels stretched too thin. They reach a point where work is something they need to power through in spite of fatigue or mental exhaustion. 

When your employees are in a state of burnout, they’re not going to spend their time trying to rethink their methods or come up with new ideas. How can you help your employees avoid burnout and stay fresh and motivated? Refresh your work-life balance tactics.

Consider offering the option of telework a few times a month or week. Give your employees more paid leave throughout the year. Make it easier for them to request time off when they’re ill or need a mental health break.

6. Don’t Forget That Sometimes Innovation Is “Out With the Old”

Innovation isn’t just about creating something new. It’s also about doing away with something old that isn’t working anymore. 

This is another area where you should take your employees’ viewpoints into account. If they’re relying on the methods they were taught years ago, they know whether or not those methods are working. If they let you know that there is a better way to do things, hear them out.

Don’t Fall Behind In Business Innovation

America has long been the land of the innovative but it’s not always easy to keep it that way. Innovation can happen on any level and it’s important to encourage business innovation no matter how small or new your company is.

Looking for more ways to improve the workplace culture and productivity of your small business? Take a look around our website for tips and tricks you can start implementing right away.

Annika Bansal

Annika "The Chick Geek" is the founder of AnnikaBansal.com. Small Business Sense shares small business ideas, tips and resources for independent Entrepreneurs and Small Business owners.