Six tips to encourage innovation in a bad economy

Though economists expect the current economic downturn to extend through 2009, it is no time to stop innovating. Harness the collective brainpower of your team and refuse to let innovation suffer under the bad economy.

Innovation is the key to surviving difficult economic times and will help you to come out on top when the tides turn. Foster a creative atmosphere and encourage innovation in your organization with these six tips:

  1. Make it clear to employees that it is better to try and fail than to never try at all. Squash any employee fear of punishment if a new idea fails. Reassure employees that their jobs are safe, even if they start something new and fail at it.
  2. Don’t just put new ideas on a to-do list, try them out. Someone will always come up with a reason for not doing something, but you will never know unless you try. Take advantage of great ideas by starting pilot projects managed by small groups. If it succeeds, it will drive more organizational innovation. If the project fails, little was lost.
  3. Have everyone on the lookout for new trends in the industry. Don’t just limit innovative ideas to upper management, encourage every employee to look out for and share the latest trends the read or hear about.
  4. Inform employees of the company’s problems. Provide as much information as possible to employees about any problems the company is having. The more they know, the more creativity can flow. Employees cant help you solve problems if they don’t know about them.
  5. Take suggestions. Set up a company-wide suggestion system where employees can share new marketing ideas and solutions. Give feedback to employees who contribute ideas along with why it was or wasn’t used. Recognize great ideas by upper management to encourage more to contribute ideas.
  6. Listen to customers. Keep customers your priority and encourage them to share some of their own innovative ideas. Those who use your product or service are the best to learn from. Listen to their problems and focus on creating new solutions. Your team will stay engaged and your customers will be happy.

If you refuse to keep up with change your business will never grow. Encouraging change and innovation will keep your company growing and stable through these and future economic tough times.


3 responses to “Six tips to encourage innovation in a bad economy

  1. Very Nice tips. I liked the 1st,3rd&4th the most. In many companies though leaders think that thinking is their job which others need to appreciate and act on. They classify the people into two categories as Thinkers & Doers. I feel for Innovation to flousrish senior leadership need to understand that these two important attributes thinking & doing need to be present in their heartcounts in equal proportion. Instead they insulate it and also their heartcounts which is a perilious act for innovation.

    Thanks for your thoughts


  2. Hello,

    I agree with this article. Feedback on all levels is so important to a company. They need to check customer AND employee satisfaction and then react to the informatin they find from the surveys. Also, another way to get true feedback is by monitoring social media interfaces such as facebook and twitter. So many people use these programs to offer opinions and feelings and don’t feel threatened. I work for a company that offers social media monitoring and more and more are realizing the impact of these interfaces!

    Ann Michaels & Associates

  3. I agree in essence but believe that managers need more.

    Managers need to realize that use of the traditional top-down command and control approach to managing people makes them their own worst enemy. This is true because top-down demeans, disrespects, demotivates and demoralizes employees thus leading them to treat their work with the same level of disrespect. Top-down can cause the very worst level of employee performance, but always detracts from what might be considered reasonable.

    The opposite to top-down achieves the opposite result, that of unleashing each employee’s full potential of creativity, innovation, productivity, motivation and commitment. With people like this, any manager will look like a superstar and employees will literally love to come to work.

    To learn more about a superior way to manage people, please read these Leadership Articles at least the first one titled “Leadership, Good or Bad”

    Best regards, Ben

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