Thinking Outside-the-Box: How to Inspire Innovation in Your Company

Posted by The Align Team on Jan 18, 2017 8:06:00 AM

Since companies today often need to pivot quickly to accommodate changes in their industries, shifts in customer’s needs, and advances in technology, innovative businesses have a huge advantage. As an entrepreneur, you’re constantly thinking of how to establish new practices and reinvent your organization.

How to Inspire Innovation


 You need team members who aren’t afraid to brainstorm new ideas, adapt existing processes, and shake things up. How can your leadership team inspire innovation across your organization?

Trust Your Team

Forbes suggests that leaders need to trust their team members to enable innovation. When you trust both your own instincts and those of your team, you’re more likely to take your colleague’s ideas seriously, listen patiently, and avoid quick dismissals.

It’s impossible to innovate when you receive a “No, we can’t do that” or “That won’t work” every step of the way. Leadership needs to be flexible to change and have confidence in their employees’ intelligence and abilities.

Researchers at the Wall Street Journal argue that innovation is the product of collaboration and teamwork. Rather than a “lone genius” coming up with brilliant ideas in a back office, innovation requires communication among different teams and groups of people working together. When diverse perspectives and ideas combine, new concepts and thought-processes are born.

Display Innovative Thinking


Leaders who display creativity, original thinking, and open-mindedness are more likely to inspire similar traits in their employees. Harvard Business Review conducted a study in which they identified leaders who scored in the 99th percentile on innovation, and then interviewed the leader’s colleagues.

Executives who exhibit innovative big-picture strategic thinking can inspire innovation at all levels of their company, as one respondent noted that her boss “excelled at painting a clear picture of the destination, while we worked to figure out how to get there.”

Create Mentoring Opportunities

If you’re already thinking innovatively, one of the best things you can do for your employees is to provide them with help and guidance to get on that track. Meet with team members to brainstorm ideas and think outside-of-the-box.

Some organizations are employing “reverse mentoring” in which younger, less-experienced employees partner and take the lead with more established colleagues. This way, team members at all levels can discuss topics to gain new perspectives and work outside of their traditional areas of expertise.

Make Physical Changes to Your Space

how-to-inspire-innovation-in-your-company-office-arrangement.jpgJake Fagan, Co-Founder and President of digital marketing agency Caddis Interactive, claims that switching up his team’s seating layout helped his colleagues generate new ideas. Studies show that changing the way physical spaces are arranged in your office can have an impact. Many school teachers are employing alternate seating arrangements and types of furniture to accommodate different learning styles in their classrooms. From bean-bag chairs to standing-desks, research suggests that non-traditional work and learning environments can help people think creatively.

As an entrepreneur, innovation is probably a big part of who you are. Test out these tactics to inspire innovation in your company, and see what happens. By encouraging new ways of thinking, you can help your business leverage cutting-edge ideas to beat out the competition and stay at the forefront of your industry.

For more info on the right procedures to boost your business success, download our Rockefeller Habits Execution Checklist. 

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Topics: employee engagement,, leadership, founder, innovation

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