Is your small business struggling and looking for new ways to innovate? Here are a few helpful tips to try.
It’s easy for any business to lose its creative focus among day-to-day minutiae. One way to keep this from happening is to have strategies that continuously increase innovation. Here are a few tips to keep those creative juices flowing.
- Have a Google document (or an open, shareable document) where employees send in all types of ideas, from a new appliance for the break room to a new product idea. A comment box serves a similar function for businesses and workers for whom such access is not part of the job. Encourage people to submit ideas by creating an approval process in which committees vote on ideas. Once an idea is approved, the nominating employee gets a cash amount or a gift card.
- Create a branch or division specifically focused on innovation.
- Encourage employees to test new ideas by requiring only a quick thumbs-up approval. Only in sporadic cases should your business have to engage in detailed talks before an employee tries a new idea. Cut out requirements such as multi-layered committee approvals. When ideas fail, don’t punish people for trying, and definitely don’t resort to micromanagement.
- Establish a library for the business. Have a dedicated space with shelves for the library, and encourage employees to bring in books and magazines. Use a small amount of business funds for reading materials as well.
- Set up a book club, or movie club. Even a painting club is fun. Ask employees to read a book or article, watch a movie, or analyze a painting. Discussions can take place through an online forum, in person or a combination of both.
- Set aside at least one day every few months for employees to do something completely unlike what they’d do on a normal work day. This could involve volunteering, departmental cross-training or specialized projects.
- Hold brainstorming sessions every week or month where anyone can show up.