Guide

Use innovation to start or grow your business

Seven ways to encourage innovation in your business

You can take simple steps to boost innovation in your business and encourage your employees to come up with new ways to improve your company, products or processes. Here are some of them.

1. Make sure you have processes and events to capture ideas. For example, you could set up suggestion boxes around the workplace or hold regular workshops or occasional company away days to brainstorm ideas.

2. Create a supportive atmosphere in which people feel free to express their ideas without the risk of criticism or ridicule.

3. Encourage risk taking and experimentation - don't penalise people who try new ideas that fail.

4. Promote openness between individuals and teams. Good ideas and knowledge in one part of your business should be shared with others. Teamwork, newsletters and intranets can all help your people share information and encourage innovation.

5. Stress that people at all levels of the business share responsibility for innovation, so everybody feels involved in taking the business forward. The fewer the layers of management or decision making in your organisation, the more people feel their ideas matter.

6. Reward innovation and celebrate success. Appropriate incentives can play a significant role in encouraging staff to think creatively.

7. Look for imagination and creativity when recruiting new employees. Remember that innovative thinkers aren't always those with the most impressive list of qualifications.

See also how to create a more innovative business: top tips.