Every industry is being challenged by dynamics globally and changes in technology. Today’s executives need to prioritize innovation and embolden their employees to think and act like entrepreneurs.

But how do you create that culture? Here are 3 ways you can use to inspire innovation within your organization.

Embrace Failure

Innovation requires taking a certain level of risk. With risk, though, often comes failure, and companies need to prepare for—and be tolerant of—that reality. Breakthroughs don’t occur when companies play it safe.

Dedicate the Right Resources

Innovation requires a range of resources, from dedicated time and funding to additional office space and support staff depending on the scope of the project. Some companies establish innovation teams, or a group of cross-functional employees focused on developing new products, services, or processes for the organization.

Train Employees in Design Thinking

Another approach companies can take to inspire innovation is utilizing design thinking. Design thinking is a customer-centric approach to brainstorming new ideas and solving problems—and is a key component to lean innovation. The process is focused on observing end-users in their natural environment to better understand customers’ needs and uncover unique insights that could lead to new business opportunities.

A FEW STEPS

Empathize: Observe and engage with users to discover their pain points, wants, and needs.
Define: Go through your research and note what stood out as you were talking to customers. Define the actual problem.
Ideate: This is where divergent and convergent thinking comes in. Here is where you brainstorm potential solutions to the problem.
Prototype: After selecting the top idea, start building a prototype, even if it’s just using paper and pen.
Test: Put the prototype in users’ hands and iterate the product based on their feedback.

Design thinking can spark creativity and provide companies with a better understanding of their end-user: Rather than build around what senior leadership thinks the problem is, employees can develop and deliver products they know their customers want. At the end of the day, to truly inspire innovation within your organization, senior leadership does need to prioritize and support those initiatives.


– Photo by Ameen Fahmy

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