Innovation Techniques – Treating Innovation As a Team Activity

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Many businesses limit innovative activities to particular individuals or particular departments in the organization. However, this approach may miss many valuable innovations that could strengthen the business.

A better approach is to involve people through the organization and start building a culture of innovation. Think of your business as an "innovation team". People from different parts of the company and with different job functions can work together as a team for purposes of generating innovations. Everyone has creative ideas, so everyone should be involved in the process of generating innovations. By incorporating people in different parts of the company, you benefit from the different perspectives and experiences each individual awards to the creative process.

Train everyone on the Team how to identify innovative ideas and provide examples of successful innovations (in your business or other organizations) that produced dramatic results for the company. These examples may be in different industries, but are valuable to show the basic process of applying creative ideas to any product or service.

Schedule innovation contests and structured brainstorming sessions to generate creative ideas. When conducting these types of activities, it is important not to criticizeize ideas. Businesses benefit from the free flow of creative ideas – there is no place for criticism in this environment. You must encourage everyone to freely share all ideas, without analyzing or evaluating the ideas at this point. Even if a particular idea is not commercially feasible, that idea may lead to another idea, which leads to another, and so forth. Think of the first idea as a "seed" that grows with additional creative input.

Celebrate successful innovations that increase revenue, reduce expenses, or strengthen the company's competitive advantage in the marketplace.

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