3 ways to ensure employees are driving innovation in your business

Published August 30, 2019   |   

We live and work in a world defined by continual evolution and rapid change. Unsurprisingly, it’s the companies that are prepared to develop and innovate that stand the best chance of success in modern-day business. This isn’t just about creating brand new products or services from scratch; it’s about optimizing existing practices and aiming to improve efficiency and performance on a day to day basis.

Every business has a different approach to innovation, of course. A large part of this depends on the industry in which they operate, the direction of their business strategy and the level of funds available to invest. That said, a company doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank if they want to start reaping the benefits of innovative thinking. New methods and approaches can often be experimented with, at little to no extra cost, providing they are well-planned and backed by absolute commitment.

With that in mind, we’re here to take a look at three ways to ensure that employees are driving innovation and fully engaged with the future vision of a company. Let’s dive straight in.

Commit to data, AI and wider digital training

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“Big_Data_Prob” (CC BY 2.0) by KamiPhuc

The entire field of big data has been booming over the past decade, with most industries now realizing that data-driven insights are crucial for any company looking to optimize key processes and gain every possible edge they can over their competitors.

From automating key processes to spotting patterns in customer behavior, there’s no end to the potential improvements that big data could enable. Yet all too often companies forget that the raw data means nothing if you don’t have an expert workforce that knows exactly how to turn the information into valuable insights.

This is where employers must choose to innovate their approach to training. If you want data and AI tools to succeed, designated staff must be equipped with the digital skills necessary to use them effectively. For managers, it’s worth spending time to evaluate existing roles and see who exactly is best placed to develop their digital skillset even further, and whether on-the-job or off-the-job approaches to training would prove more effective.

Either way, employees must always feel supported and encouraged through the transitional phase of introducing new technologies if they are to start driving higher levels of performance sooner rather than later.

Focus on collective thinking

Whether it’s a fledgling start-up with great potential or a sprawling multinational giant, one key trait behind any successfully innovative company is collective intelligence. This is the idea that new concepts and approaches shouldn’t be siloed away and developed by just one or two people; they should be open to discussion and improvement from as many skilled people within an organization as possible.

By establishing a strong focus on collective intelligence, project leaders can ensure they are covering any potential blind spot in knowledge or skillset at all times. This is why we’re seeing more and more companies choosing to invest in specialist software platforms like Qmarkets to help manage their innovation projects and campaigns. Such tools allow various teams to share ideas and develop key initiatives together, ensuring that no stone is left unturned at each stage of development.

It’s no big secret that getting multiple perspectives on an idea from a wide range of different sources ultimately leads to a better end product or service. More than that, it also stops individuals and teams from developing tunnel vision or hitting a wall in terms of development.

Get the culture right

Inspiring employees to go above and beyond their standard responsibilities and continually look for ways to innovate doesn’t just happen overnight. Top employers spend years building a company culture in which staff are engaged, recognized for successes, encouraged to work flexibly and given autonomy over their workload. There really is no substitute for getting the basics right.

That doesn’t mean that creative thinking around employee benefits and innovation strategies shouldn’t be encouraged. According to a recent research piece published by Forbes, companies with both highly aligned business and innovation strategies, as well as a pro-innovation culture, have 30% higher growth on their enterprise’s value than those that don’t.

All things considered; it clearly pays to invest in developing a culture that rewards innovative thinking. In fact, given the pace of change and need for adaptability in today’s business world, it’s highly likely that the companies that do not bother to encourage greater innovation at all organizational levels are the ones that will inevitably be left behind in years to come – most likely sooner rather than later. That’s why any employer, regardless of their size, would do well to follow these three tips. Happy innovating!