For the past several posts I have written on the idea of creating organizational cultures that encourage innovative leaders. I firmly believe it is a mistake of leaders to feel they can force innovation or even create innovative people. Innovation, in its purest form, means change, and while change can be forced upon people, the best changes, the kind that make an organization excellent, come from the heart of a person. Great innovation comes from the gut. You cannot legislate those kinds of changes.
Even if that is true, however, there are things leaders can do even in a culture of innovation to encourage team members to be more innovative. Here are a 10 random ideas to help. Feel free to add some that have worked in your organization.
- Get away from the office routinely as a team. There is something about a change in surroundings that encourages a change in thought.
- Have a brainstorming session with open-ended questions. (For an example our staff did recently read THIS POST.)
- Reward new ideas/Recognize new thoughts/Celebrate success – People will want to be a part of it.
- Encourage thinking time. (Read a couple posts about that HERE and HERE.)
- Have times together as a team that are simply fun.
- Remove obstacles to innovative thought, such as communication barriers between team members and management.
- Talk about current culture and how changes can impact your organization’s culture.
- Be accessible. It encourages team members to share new ideas with you more often.
- Welcome diversity of thoughts and opinions, even if they are different than yours.
- Set innovation goals, such as “make changes to the website next year this time.”
I encourage you to innovate and come up with better ideas than these and share them with us here.
(For more thoughts on innovation, read that category HERE.)