October 27, 2022

Understanding innovations through your employees

Without the people to bring them to life - innovations are just blurry ideas. Innovation fuels progress, and people fuel the innovation process. People are the core of any organization and the backbone of innovations.

Innovations have always been a vital part of our civilization. They fuel progress and offer solutions to any obstacle that we come across. But without the genius ideas of people and their ability to bring them to life, they mean nothing. That is why people are the most important part of any company. With good organizational skills and the help of technology, you can make sure that your innovation process is going as smooth as possible, and that your business is keeping up with trends, or even becoming a trendsetter. Either way, you must create an open communication network and allow ideas and insight to flow freely.

Encourage collaboration

The innovation process is not a one-man job. It requires a lot of joint effort and often comes with a great deal of trial and error. Teamwork is at its core. Support open communication and provide all necessary technology to make it easier. Then you must make sure that you create a friendly environment where collaboration is valued and where people feel free to work together and express themselves. An inclusive workspace is certainly something that will help you greatly in this attempt as well as your organizational culture. New technologies do not only make it easier for people to connect but also with the use of MR, AR, VR technologies and other remote solutions, shy employees are becoming more proactive and willing to participate in person.

The innovation process is not a one-man job. It requires a lot of joint effort and often comes with a great deal of trial and error. Teamwork is at its core.

Two-way communication

It is always best if you have open, two-way communication in your organization. Enabling both top-down and bottom-up approaches will ensure that you have everything covered. In case you as the leader or manager wish to start an initiative and let’s say call everyone to action or communicate some important info to everyone, then the top-down approach is for you. But you always want to leave room for your employee’s ideas, insights, complaints and so on, and that is why a bottom-up approach is necessary. In a lot of cases, your employees are in direct contact with your customers, and it is a great way to collect feedback from customers if you don’t have crowdsourcing initiatives. Quite often your employees will have great ideas that need to be heard. This will bring you a lot of data that needs to be processed. With the use of new technologies and software, you can always find the best fit for your organization and your goals. Not only will this speed up the process, but it will also make sure that no good ideas go to waste.

Acknowledge the effort

Creating a friendly environment where people are open and willing to collaborate and participate in different activities sometimes comes down to the smallest things, no new cool technologies or cash bonuses. People like to be acknowledged for their efforts, no matter how big or small they are. Acknowledgements such as the “Idea of the month” or “Innovator of the year” or even something silly as that might motivate more people to share their ideas. And don’t forget that the innovation process is far beyond the ideation process. Your team members should be motivated to do their best at every step of the way. Even if your innovation fails in the end, that is also part of the process. You get your team back together and start everything all over again. The innovation process is a long and strenuous process for everyone and managing motivation should be also one of your priorities.

There might not be such a thing as looking in the long run. Different innovations call for different people, their backgrounds, perspectives, skills, their interaction and so on. What worked for one innovation process won’t necessarily work for another. That is exactly why you need to encourage collaboration and create a friendly and open environment. And even that won't be enough. A diverse and inclusive workforce is not a trendy thing organizations are trying to accomplish because someone said so, diversity enriches your innovation process and takes it to a whole new level, while inclusion at the same time makes sure to fuel it. Getting on board people who are capable of working with different individuals and groups, and can accept different opinions are the people you want on your team. At the end of the day, innovations are more than Eureka moments of individuals with light-bulb moments. In most cases, the initial ideas go through several iterations before they are ready for realization. And that is all before development starts. There is no perfect solution for managing your innovation process. What you can do is try and find the right people and provide them with all the necessary tools and technology and constantly work on the work environment, encouraging collaboration and inclusion. And who knows, maybe you will launch the next big thing.

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