Innovation is an essential aspect of any business. No matter your industry, there is an ongoing need for new ideas that put products into the hands of customers. Innovation management is about thinking outside the box. It involves creating new opportunities rather than waiting for them to arise. This, however, cannot occur in a vacuum.
You have heard the popular saying “It takes a village.” This is true of innovation. When people come together to share ideas and then figure out how those ideas can be used for the greater good, new thoughts and processes emerge.
Gallup research shows a connection between employee engagement and innovation. According to statistics published by Forbes, teams whose members are highly engaged demonstrate 21 percent greater profitability.
It is not always easy to encourage employees to share their ideas. Some are afraid to introduce new thought processes to their teams while others may be reluctant to deviate from the norms.
Rewarding innovative thinking provides a great incentive for idea sharing and can get those creative juices flowing. Here are some ways to reward innovation.
Encourage the Execution of Ideas
If an employee has a good idea, move it forward. The first step to innovating is allowing employees to challenge convention. Those ideas will go nowhere if you do not further investigate, then try them.
Let the employee be responsible for executing the idea. This builds trust and promotes empowerment. It sends the message your employees are valued and that you have faith in their ideas.
Create an Innovation Environment
Your employees should feel free to come up with and share ideas with team members and others in the organization. This will encourage them to increase creativity in their roles.
Innovation management generates new ways of working. Problem-solving is a large part of the process. Teams who are the freedom to think for themselves will innovate.
Allow Flexible Working
Flexible working is a great incentive for rewarding innovation. According to a 2017 survey, 70 percent of those who participated found jobs offering flexibility more attractive. Allowing employees more freedom in their roles shows your focus is on achieving excellent results.
Ways to achieve those results include offering flexible work hours, allowing employees to learn about other functions in the company, and so on. This helps team members determine and hone the details of their own roles.
Provide Tangible Incentives
Tangible innovation incentives are rewards employees can touch or experience. These can come in the form of:
- Personal recognition for ideas in the next corporate meeting
- Tickets to sporting events
- Office perks that inspire employees to keep innovating
Incentives can be meaningful and fun. They can also motivate entire teams to begin regularly sharing ideas.
All innovations derive from the effort. While every idea will not be a success, employees should be encouraged to keep the creative process flowing. Rewarding team members for having the courage to share those ideas keep the team from stagnating.
Reward the Team as a Whole
Great ideas often come from individuals, but they are implemented by entire teams. Rewarding the team for their work is a great way to encourage the members to continue working together. This collective effort is what will spur further innovation.