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8 Ways to Harness Innovation and Creativity in the Workplace

Creativity is one’s ability to act or think in ways that are original, new, or unusual. Innovation is the implementation of new ideas or products that creates value for a business and/or society as a whole.

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Innovation and creativity are critical in attaining success within your organization. In fact, innovation and creativity are imperative if you want your business to survive. A lack of either will lead to stagnation. Therefore, the lack of progress will eventually lead to the demise of your business.

Innovation starts with creativity. However, creativity is not simply a skill which people can automatically perform anytime they want or need to. There are certain steps that employers need to take for creativity and innovation to flourish within their organizations.

1.                Hire the best people for the jobs in your company

All employers would like to bring in the best talent available to their organizations. Ideally, they want to hire workers for their creativity and innovative ability. This may not be easy, but by taking the time to go through each applicant, through interviews and/or tests, you will recognize traits that indicate creativity and innovativeness in certain candidates.

When you’ve made your choices, you can contact the references that they have provided to get to know if they are a perfect fit for the available positions in your firm.

 2.                Your organization’s mission and vision statements should be clear

All employees should be committed to accomplishing the company’s mission and vision and senior management should also commit to assume responsibility if they fail to do so.

 3.                Provide workers with a physical work space that encourages creativity and innovation

There should be casual meeting spots accessible to everyone, even to those with physical disabilities. At the same time, there should be a quiet space for reflection. Communication tools such as white boards, bulletin boards, digital projectors should also be provided.

 4.                Employees should be encouraged to think “out of the box”

Creative people rarely think like everyone else. Workers should not be reckless when making decisions or taking action, but they should also be encouraged to take calculated risks that may help the company achieve its goals or boost its bottom line.

 5.                Establish a system that measures the innovative pulse of your company

Monitor and evaluate activities and inputs as well as outputs, outcomes, and impacts of innovations.

 6.                Consider giving incentives to innovative members of the organization

Incentives can be in the form of cash, vacation leave or free trips.

 7.                Require all employees to take breaks

According to, The American Institute of Stress, the largest source of stress for 46 percent of American adults is work-related. Instruct your employees to take their coffee break and lunch break. Rest and relaxation can help increase energy, productivity and creativity.

 8.                Creative ideas can come from outside your organization

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” The automobile is one such invention. Although there have been several debates on who really invented the automobile, historians have given credit to Karl Benz. The need for a “horseless carriage” for faster and more efficient travel was what prompted Benz to invent the automobile. Henry Ford, on the other hand, created an automobile that would be affordable to the average American.

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In Conclusion

In this day and age, several businesses have come up with new products or improved existing products by listening to what their customers have to say or by observing how they behave.

Businesses are under constant pressure by a variety of changes in a marketplace that has become increasingly competitive. Following these steps will help foster a culture of innovation and creativity in your organization that can aid in achieving company goals.

 

By Fred Coon, CEO

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