Innovation doesn’t happen overnight. Breakthrough concepts and technologies are often the results of painstaking work carried out after a countless number of empty coffee cups, late work sessions and sleepless nights.
Becoming a driver of innovation also isn’t as easy as flipping a switch. Organizations that successfully embrace the creative process to produce new, exciting ideas and products must empower their employees to be as efficient and effective as possible.
To take your organization to the next level, here are some tools that can help your team drive innovation faster.
Fostering creativity requires an environment where employees feel safe to contribute new ideas. Because the creative process is inherently messy, safety is crucial because it gives contributors an opportunity to explore curiosities, make mistakes, and ultimately repeat the trial-and-error process before stumbling upon something great.
Deploying tools to make employees feel safe and secure can help drive innovation. In this instance, these tools are policies and procedures that let employees know they work in an environment that promotes safety and stability. Workplaces where employees feel unheard or face retribution foster an environment where bold ideas don’t have room to flourish. The same can be said for job security — when offering up constructive criticism or suggesting an idea that might initially seem outlandish, it’s tough for an employee to speak with the freedom to explore and make mistakes if they feel a career is on the line. Letting colleagues know that during periods of innovation they’re free to take risks and shoot for the moon in planning sessions can help them work at their very best capacity.
Innovation works best for teams when barriers for sharing ideas and coming up with new ones are taken down. In a brainstorming session, for instance, being able to quickly disseminate or display a document can help get everyone on the same page.
Teams must embrace powerful collaboration tools to support the process of innovation. Slack, a popular workplace communications app, integrates with popular platforms like G Suite and Microsoft Office to make it easy for team members to speak, share and create ideas. Having an open communication channel without cumbersome barriers to interaction can ensure nothing gets in the way of a new idea taking off.
Developing new ideas is always better when there’s a team to support their creation. But even the best teams know that effectively working together requires time to ideate, plan and execute without being micromanaged or rushed by outside forces.
Innovative teams require a certain degree of autonomy in order to define the scope of their work and see it through. Left to truly innovate, teams should be given the space and freedom to explore possibilities without being stifled and second-guessed by outside forces every step of the way. This extends to individual team members, who also must be allowed to work independently when necessary to support the creative process efficiently and productively.