Simply telling teams to be creative probably won’t spur new ideas. It is more effective to build an inno- vation-friendly ecosystem that makes the ideation process more fun and fruitful. Organizations should nurture innovation instead of merely asking for it. Here are five ways to stimulate innovation in your organization:
1. DESCRIBE THE PATH FORWARD
Challenge people with razor-sharp goals. A solid
direction or clearly defined end result can help
keep people focused and motivated while stimulating their minds to generate creative ideas. Harness good ideas by structuring employee creativity
within the organization’s vision, mission and values.
Project managers can foster that by designing specific goals or starting an innovation program aimed
toward furthering company strategy.
2. INVEST IN INNOVATION
Innovation doesn’t just appear out of nowhere.
Organizations must invest in it, whether it’s R&D,
an innovation program or redesigning the office
for optimum creativity.
Samsung is a good example of an organization
spending a considerable amount on innovation
and seeing results. According to Business Korea,
Samsung spent US$13.8 billion in 2014 on R&D.
Between January and May 2015, Samsung applied
for the second-most patents for invention from
the United States Patent Office in that time period:
3,052 patents, outshining rival Apple’s 708 patents.
This investment in new product development is
keeping Samsung relevant in the marketplace.
3. UNLEASH POTENTIAL
The hierarchal structure of many organizations is
giving way in order to better foster intrapreneur-
HOW TO CULTIVATE CREATIVITY
Kareem Shaker, PMI-RMP, PMP, is a senior
manager, projects and enterprise risk at Dubai
World, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Follow him
on Twitter at @kareemshaker.
ship, enabling people to work like entrepreneurs
within large organizations.
To do the same at your organization, give employees the freedom to work on projects of their own.
Let people be driven by their passions rather than by
completing traditional work assignments. They likely
will come back with creative ideas and innovative
outcomes that deliver benefits to the organization.
Everyone should think and act like an entrepreneur.
Also, help members of different teams share
knowledge. One person’s work routine might be
another’s inspiration—the spark that leads to an
4. WELCOME FAILURE AND
U.S. inventor Thomas Edison once said, “I have not
failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Organizations should welcome first-of-its-kind failure as much as they welcome success.
If we think of failure as a stepping-stone to success, then a healthy innovation ecosystem should
be blame-free. The only intent of investigating
failed endeavors must be to learn and avoid repeating the same mistake.
In the same vein, people need to be recognized for
their genuine efforts. Have a clear-cut recognition
scheme for people who identify creative ideas and
turn them into innovative products and services.
5. CREATE A STIMULATING WORKPLACE
Something as simple as your office’s interior design
will have an effect on employees’ ability to innovate. Studies show certain colors, such as blue and
green, can boost productivity and creativity. On the
other hand, colors like gray and beige cause feelings
of sadness and depression.
Recreational areas also can stimulate minds. A
Stanford study suggests that walking boosts creativity by at least 60 percent. Amenities such as a gym,
a table tennis or billiards table, musical instruments
and collaborative games can provide people with
more paths to innovation. PM
Don’t just tell your team to
innovate—create an environment
that makes them want to.
BY KAREEM SHAKER, PMI-RMP, PMP