Get those ideas flowing freely.

Although the word “innovation” is arguably overused these days, it still remains true that building a culture of innovation is at the top of most corporations’ lists. Employees within a company are, after all, positioned to uniquely understand all the facets of business operations, customer demand, and product development. So it makes sense that new growth should come from within. But with some organizations, attempts to build a culture of innovation fall flat. Why is this and how can it be combated?

Many companies use employees for idea generation but then they finish the process off of innovation in a somewhat impatient way, by opting for fast and cheap processes that are aimed to produce breakthrough solutions. Sometimes these methods work but more often than not, they are missing the mark by only using part of their team’s innovation potential. Below are some strategies that have been proven to successfully build a culture of innovation within various industries.

Keep Communication Open

Organize your company so communication is open between all levels – from employees all the way up to top management. Lines of communication should be opened through corporate communication channels, allowing employees to share or submit their ideas in an online submission box or by holding company-wide brainstorming sessions and events. Open communication works wonders when it comes to fostering a culture of innovation.

Create a Culture of Ideas

Ensure your employees feel their ideas are valued, making brainstorming okay – even if ideas are not accepted. Strive to encourage your employees to allow ideas to flow freely and for mistakes to be made without the fear of failure. This will free your staff to come up with fresh and new ideas.

Have executives and managers to make use of crowdsourcing for employee engagement. It is vital that your company generates a culture in your company where all ideas are celebrated. This kind of mindset will bring about new ideas and a culture of continuous improvement.

Reward Innovation

Reward innovation, not the success. Offer incentives for those who come up with ideas. Reward acts of creativity within your company, encouraging your employees by letting them know when they come up with ideas, you hear and appreciate them. Consider instituting an award for the most innovative person of the month, choosing a new level of activity or application each month, or have contests for the best new idea. Let your employees know you appreciate their contribution, regardless of the size.

Set Objectives

Clear goals are one of the most important elements of creating an innovative culture and innovation management. Sometimes brainstorming takes place in a vacuum, which can lead to a dead-end road. Other times, ideation sessions without boundaries can merely drain ideas and resources with little result. Although letting your team run wild with ideas is great, objectives should be set to ensure you stay on track and do not drain resources. A clear structure can keep your team from losing track and getting lost on tangents that do not fulfill your market’s requirements. Providing structure can help to enable true innovation and creativity.