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Increasing Innovation in the Workplace: 4 Steps to Success

Words by 3p Contributor
Investment & Markets
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By Norah Abraham

Has the atmosphere in the workplace grown stale and lackluster? Do you need some new and fresh ideas to improve motivation and innovation? You aren't alone — today's marketplace is a competitive one, and creative, talented people are spread pretty thin. Additionally, if the workplace environment isn't conducive to fostering new ideas, then even those with the talent for doing so can find themselves shutting down and unable to produce new innovation to keep the company on the fast track to ongoing success.

There are quite a few ways in which you can breathe new life into the workplace and new energy into the hearts and minds of your employees. From making subtle changes to the work environment to seeking out new recruits with high potential, following some or all of these tips is a surefire way to get back on track to success.

1. Forget the 9-5 schedule


Easier said than done, but believe it or not, it works. As a manager, team leader or business owner, you have probably seen quite a few different work styles. Understanding that not everyone produces results the same way is important, because forcing everyone to work the same way on the same schedule can actually cause productivity to fail. If some individuals prefer to work alone, let them do so, so long as they actually do produce good results. If someone prefers to work really early, or works best while listening to music, or benefits from brainstorming sessions, accommodate them.

Additionally, encouraging employees to take their vacation time, rather than forbidding it as many other managers do, helps to keep up morale and cuts down on disgruntled feelings. Letting your employees work in a way they like which allows them to unleash their creative potential is one of the best ways to keep morale, motivation and innovation high.

2. Work toward a common vision


When you hire new employees, try to hire those who will best be able to follow the company vision and work toward helping the company as a whole achieve its short-term and long-term goals. A team that works in unison for each other and for the good of the company is ultimately more productive than those a team comprised of members that don't really understand the purpose of their efforts.

Also keep in mind that hiring an individual that appears to be the most qualified doesn't necessarily mean he or she will be the best worker. Sometimes the less qualified or less experienced individual will strive harder to achieve, gaining valuable experience and insight along the way that only encourages further successes. Trust your instincts, and you are bound to make the right decision.

3. Take advantage of conferences and motivational speakers


There are always other sources to turn to increase innovation, through conferences and trade shows in which motivational speakers or new products and services can inspire your employees. You can find a large assortment of influential and motivational speakers that can really serve you and your employees or colleagues well in your area.

Some popular conference speaker bureaus allow you to search for motivational speakers by industry, and can help you book speakers for your own events.

4. Listen, communicate and learn


Communication is always an important factor in any workplace, and a lack of communication can mean productivity suffers and employees lose morale. It is important for all managers and team leaders to remember that communication is a two-way street — you can't simply dictate orders. You need to be available to listen to employee concerns and ideas, and most importantly, learn what truly motivates your employees. The more your employees’ feel that their ideas are appreciated and that they have a boss they can talk to, the more inclined they'll be to share new ideas that could truly benefit the company as a whole.

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Of course, there are other things you might do as a manager or team leader to encourage others to continue to strive for new and better ideas and foster innovation. But the above tips will certainly get you started in the right direction, as well as create a healthier and more productive work environment overall.

Try to remain consistent with whatever method or methods you choose, as simply trying to be one way for a week or two and then giving up certainly isn't going to give you the results you desire. Additionally, when you face obstacles, try to face them as a team, supporting one another rather than living by the "every man for himself" rule.

Image credit: Flickr/englishme community Norah Abraham has been a freelance writer since 2005. She attended the University of Boston and graduated with a Bachelor in English Literature. She loves public speaking and motivates people in her own comic style. She loves gadgets and techie stuffs. In her career, she has written dozens of Press Releases, Articles, and Essays.

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