Archive | March, 2012

Four Tips For Driving Innovation at Work

23 Mar

Innovation at WorkRecently, Apple ascended into the upper echelon of corporate elites by becoming one of five companies in history to reach a $500 billion market capitalization (the others being Microsoft, Cisco, ExxonMobil and GE). The milestone is a testament to the brand’s unwavering devotion to innovation, business savvy and corporate ingenuity.

Reverence of Apple is ubiquitous, but for some the tech giant is more a source of inspiration. Take its culture of innovation, for example. Many argue that companies who are able to develop a culture focused on improving people’s lives enjoy a growth rate much higher than the competitors in their categories. Apple is a prime example of this strategy.

Not every leader can realistically aspire for the kind of success Apple has enjoyed, but they can learn a thing or two about company culture and innovation. Here are four tips toward that end:

1.) Communicate – Whether you’re a business leader or a project manager, you need to communicate your values and expectations, particularly how they relate to innovation and organizational creativity. Extend your focus beyond the company’s financial interests, and be specific. Trite motivational phrases and mission statements are easy to ignore. A frequent email to employees reminding them of weekly tasks and objectives is much more effective.

2.) Support all kinds of innovation – No stone should be left unturned, no idea should be ridiculed, and no employee should be ostracized. Advocate an approach to innovation that emanates from big ideas, not necessity or desperation.

3.) Coach your employees – Whether you do it yourself or you choose to hire outside help, your workers should always be learning. Training and development – although more complicated in regards to creativity and innovation – can help engage new talents and identify fledgling ones.

4.) Set high standards –  If you believe in your team, you should set high standards and adhere to them strictly. Strong employees and loyal teams will step up to your challenges and, hopefully, impress you with their work. While you should expect the best, be sure not to discourage ideas or intimidate your team members.

How do you drive innovation at your workplace?