Every company wants to be innovative. Discovering new products and services, or improving existing ones, before the competition does. Innovation is speeding up exponentially in the last few years. From breakthroughs in AI to huge rockets that launch satellites and then safely land back on earth. However, not all innovations have to be of this size and becoming more innovative isn’t rocket science either.

You don’t have to hire the next Albert Einstein or Elon Musk. Start to become more innovative today, by building the right team.

1.    Your people need to have a passion for your business
Innovation comes from being creative and continually looking for ways how to improve your products and fulfill a need your customer has. To think and look at your products and services like this, you need people onboard who have a passion for your company and what it stands for. If employees don’t feel this and lack an intrinsic motivation for what they do, you’ll not take your products and services to the next level.

So, start looking at the motivation of your people. If you feel this is not up to par, talk with them and find out what’s going on. See how you can help them find their motivation or move on to a better fit.

In your hiring process, don’t just look at the skills and experience of a potential hire. Find out why they want the job and why they want to work for you.

2.    Improve your lighting
Having dimmed lights in your office might decrease your team’s learning and memorizing abilities. Neuroscientists at Michigan State University discovered that rats who are continually exposed to dim light had a 30 percent lower activity in the hippocampus. It is the region of the brain responsible for learning and memorizing abilities. Dimmed light also decreased their ability for spatial tasks.

So, better turn up the lights if you want more creativity. Also, let’s be honest, we all wish to work in a pleasant office with good, preferably, natural lighting.

3.    Your employees need to feel safe
In this case, we mean psychological safety, though the importance of physical safety goes without saying. Foster an environment where your people feel they can speak up and voice their ideas and opinions, without being criticized, laughed at or with fear of reprisal.

Google, a byword for innovation, wanted to discover what conditions make a successful team. They went through all the data they had available, from the leadership style of the manager to the personality types of the team members. Yet, none of the standard data could accurately predict a team’s performance. What they did discover was big though.

The most critical variable for the performance of a team is the sense of psychological safety. In other words, do members feel they can safely express themselves? If you’ve ever been in a class with bullies or had a boss who would yell at you, you’ll understand this. As a company, you can actively encourage a safe environment by:

  • Being available. Shorten the lines of communication and have an open door policy so employees can talk with you.
  • Sharing your own mistakes and failures. Show how you’ve grown from these.
  • Supporting employees to share and talk about their missteps.
  • Reassuring your team that it’s a good thing to ask for help, feedback, and additional information.
  • Explaining that sharing an error is not the same as a bad performance. However, not reporting errors will affect the employees’ evaluation.

Be diverse

Studies show it over and over again. Teams with a broad mixture of backgrounds, expertise, and experiences are more successful, creative and innovative than homogeneous teams. By having many outlooks around the table, a diverse team investigates deeper and broadens the number of possible ideas and solutions available.

Alternatively, a diverse team can create more tensions due to the varied viewpoints. It’s your job as a manager, together with the team, to stimulate a positive and safe environment where different opinions are valued and discussed respectfully and professionally. 

It’s all about teamwork

To become more innovative, you need to focus on your people and your teams. 

By having motivated and a variety of people working together in a safe and pleasant environment, you’re on your way to becoming an innovative powerhouse. Let us help you achieve this and contact us.

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