January 17, 2019
In today’s world, being the first to market with a new and innovative product or service can give your business a major advantage. Investopedia shares that this is called being a “first mover” and offers the opportunity to strengthen brand recognition, increase customer loyalty, and set the price point of the product or service before your competition even appears.
But, let’s be honest. Creating a team that is capable of developing these types of trend-setting ideas isn’t always easy. In fact, according to Qmarkets, a leading innovation management platform for enterprises, the key challenges associated with creating an innovative team are:
- Knowing how to create a culture that supports idea formation,
- Getting employees to want to participate in this type of process,
- Identifying which ideas have the most promise, and
- Putting those ideas to work while also measuring their level of success.
Let’s look at each of these individually, as well as what you can do to overcome them so you can develop a more innovative team – and a stronger business.
Creating an Idea-Forward Culture
In your company, do you encourage your employees to come up with new, never-seen-before ideas or is your environment one that supports the old adage of “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”?
If it’s more the latter than the former, Adam Fridman, the founder of Mabbly, a digital marketing agency, says that you can foster your team’s creativity by responding to new ideas enthusiastically and rewarding innovative ideas when team members share them.
Fridman also recommends encouraging your team to work differently. This may mean changing where they work from time to time (like from home versus at the office), creating more diverse teams, or even swapping job duties to keep them thinking outside the box.
Compelling Employees to Participate
But how do you get employees to want to come up with these new ideas? According to research from the University of Rochester, the answer is somewhat complex.
For instance, your employees need to know that they can successfully come up with a new idea and they must also feel like they are making progress while working through the process. They’re also more motivated when they feel that what they’re doing matters outside business walls.
Overcoming this challenge first requires making sure your employees know that they’re capable and competent. Second, it involves taking the time to share the big picture of how their ideas can impact the world.
Identifying Good Ideas
Once the ideas start flowing, the next step is to decide which ones to try. Successful property investor Michael Yardney says that identifying good ideas versus bad involves:
- Asking enough questions about the idea and how it would work;
- Vetting the idea with research (both book-wise and industry-wise); and
- Determining whether you’re in a position to proceed with the idea.
If, after you do these three things, the idea still has merit, it may be a good idea to move forward with it.
Putting the Ideas to Work and Measuring the Results
The final challenge that companies have when creating a more innovative team is putting the idea into action and constantly monitoring whether it is doing as well as you’d expected.
Is it giving you the return on investment that you’d hoped for? Are the numbers supporting the idea, suggesting that you should keep going with it, or are they indicating that you need to review the idea again and make some tweaks to make it more beneficial to your business?
Creating a more innovative team isn’t always easy, but it is possible. Especially if you take common challenges like these and find ways to overcome them.
About the Author
Jeff Broth is a business writer, mentor, and personal finance advisor. He had been consulting for business owners and entrepreneurs for the past seven years.