I’ve worked with companies all over the world, and yet when it comes to innovation I still hear excuses again and again. “We don’t have time for innovation.” “We need more big ideas.” “Innovation doesn’t work in our industry.” Organizations use excuses like these all the time to avoid innovation!
In truth, innovation doesn’t have to take up all of your time, you don’t need big ideas to be successful, and you can innovate in any industry. It doesn’t need to be intimidating for you or your team either—there are many simple, practical ways to create space for innovation for yourself, your team, and your organization right now.
1. Schedule a Weekly Ideation Lunch
Set aside time each week for ideation. This could be at a brown-bag lunch with your team or a weekly meeting with yourself at a time when you’re feeling most creative. Think about how to solve customer problems, make things around the office more efficient, or simply hold a brainstorming session to explore more out-of-the-box concepts.
The important thing is to hold this time as sacred—don’t let it be trampled by other initiatives and deadlines. If you do, you’ll soon find yourself without new ideas and failing to create new value. Leaders who value progress give employees the space, time, and opportunity to dream and ideate.
2. Seek Out and Share Innovation Inspiration
Schedule time to read about innovations from your competition or in other industries, and be sure to share with your team. Or, subscribe to innovation newsletters or social media channels to help jumpstart your thinking about how to apply others’ successes to your own problems or opportunities. Your organization could even create an internal newsletter to share innovation inspirations occurring within the company. Looking both internally and externally can help stimulate creative thinking for your next project.
3. Celebrate Creative Thinking
Creativity and innovation should be celebrated and awarded company-wide. On top of having a central place to submit and manage ideas, ideas selected for further work should be acknowledged. You can do this with a recognition board in a central location or a company-wide email, or even a small gift.
Recognizing individuals’ accomplishments energizes and engages your team and builds the company’s innovation culture—creating even more space for new creative thinking and ideation.
This week, take a look at this list of three ways to create space for innovation and add just one into your daily schedule. Soon, you’ll see endless possibilities for innovation in your daily work and life.