Innovation has become a major buzzword across all industries – but what exactly does it mean to be innovative, and how can businesses achieve it?

At its core, innovation is the act of embracing new ideas and creativity. When business leaders inspire innovation within their teams, they set both their staff and institution up for long-term success. To achieve this, there are 3 key factors to consider: setting aspirational goals, closing the innovation gap, and building trust through communication.

Understanding how innovation can give a business the competitive edge it needs is crucial. In this article, we will explore these 3 factors, as well as several of the benefits that come with the adoption of innovation within the workplace.

5 Key Benefits Innovation Brings to the Table

The word innovation is thrown around a lot these days, and for good reason. Businesses that actively adopt innovative technologies and strategies give themselves the necessary boost to thrive in this new digital era.

Here are 5 benefits to consider that arise when innovation is welcomed by leaders:

  • Greater Efficiency: Innovation helps teams to imbue their work with better strategies. These strategies allow for greater output without having to invest more time or resources into a larger input by the business. As a result, company efficiency has the opportunity to skyrocket, resulting in cost and time savings.
  • Competitive Edge: The companies at the forefront of their industry are those that place innovation at the heart of their business models. By weaving innovation into an existing workplace, a business can better maintain a competitive edge.
  • Inspired Productivity: Not only will innovation increase the overall productivity of a business team, but it also backs that productivity with inspiration. Teams work harder and smarter thanks to their own ingenuity and drive.
  • Team Collaboration: A key enabler to innovation is collaboration. When innovation is encouraged by business leaders, a professional team is better able to break down departmental silos and work together towards common and shared objectives.
  • Higher Staff Retention: Lastly, innovation makes work more interesting and engaging for business teams. In turn, staff retention will see a significant increase as team members maintain higher levels of commitment and passion for the tasks at hand.

The 3 Ways for Leaders to Inspire Innovation

Now that we have covered the benefits that result from innovation in the workplace, let’s discuss how leaders can inspire this within their teams.

It is essential to understand that innovation can happen anywhere at any time when people are given the proper tools, resources, and freedom to be imaginative. However, it is also important for the people in charge to not only encourage their teams to be innovative but to lead by example.

With this in mind, here are 3 ways leaders can inspire innovation:

1. Set Aspirational Goals

Setting clear goals for a team to work towards is a key component of any strong business strategy.

When it comes to innovation, providing aspirational goals to a team will give them a sense of what is possible for them to achieve. This helps to promote a strong sense of commitment to a project or company objective, as team members gain a better sense of what can be obtained in the event of success.

To set aspirational goals, it is important to break them down into smaller steps. By demonstrating how a lofty goal can be reached, a team can better visualize how they may utilize their skills to contribute to the goal.

2. Close the Innovation Gap

The innovation gap refers to the space between where a company wants to be and the evolution that needs to occur before that place can be reached. This evolution is often inhibited by a lack of budget, staff, resources, or expertise.

To close the innovation gap within a business structure, the first crucial step is to more closely analyze the skills and strengths of a team. Oftentimes, team members have abilities that are overlooked and underutilized, leading to a company not embracing all the resources it actually has.

Identifying such team members and encouraging them to go outside their departmental bounds to share broader ideas helps to birth a culture of innovation within a workplace. Working with a team in this way not only promotes collaboration but also helps the head of a business to lead by example.

From here, leaders can begin implementing more effective organizational practices specifically designed to enable innovation.

3. Build Trust Through Communication

Innovation inherently requires people to move outside of their comfort zones. In a business setting especially, professionals may feel hesitant to do so if they have previously been given specific instructions on how to perform.

When introducing greater innovation into the workplace, trust and communication are critically important. Open and honest communication from a leader results in team members feeling more willing to express their concerns and ideas as well.

The more cross-departmental communication is fostered, the faster the adoption of innovation will be.

Final Thoughts

Embracing innovation is becoming a cornerstone to success for businesses around the globe.

To inspire innovation, leaders need to focus on empowering their teams through aspirational goals, closing the innovation gap, and building a trustworthy network of communication.

By doing so, not only a business team but the entire business model is allowed to grow and evolve – which ultimately leads to long-term success and prosperity.

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