Proceeding with purpose
It’s a great mistake to assume innovation can be encouraged or fostered in a vacuum, according to Judd. If, like Future Golf, you’re clear about your business’s purpose, innovation is likely to occur more naturally as you strive to meet customers’ needs and exceed their expectations.
However, pressuring your team members to come up with bright ideas or sending them to innovation workshops to learn how to get their creative juices flowing can have the opposite effect.
“If you want to kill innovation, walk around telling people they have to be innovative,” Judd notes. “Very few people can be innovative on command and truly innovative ideas only become a reality if they are expressed in a culture that values them.”
“If you want to see more innovation, you need to foster an environment that supports creative ideas, outrageous suggestions and the exploration of ‘off-the-cuff’ opportunities.”
A well-supported team is more likely to innovate
The positive effect on the bottom line is not the only reason innovation is important. It’s also an excellent barometer for the health of your workplace.
“To achieve genuine innovation, people need to feel free to speak up and present their ‘crazy’ ideas, confident they’ll be acknowledged and explored,” Judd says.
Cultivate an environment driven by fear and conformity and there’ll be precious little innovation going on. Instead, employees will be more likely to play it safe. They will continue to do things as they’ve always been done, rather than run the risk of being penalised if a suggestion or experiment misses the mark.
“Innovation is a great indicator of whether you have an open and honest workplace culture, based on trust and support,” Judd says. “If you have that, you can achieve anything.”
So, if you’d like to see your business flourish further in the future, keep an open mind and encourage your team to think outside the box. It’s time to embrace innovation.