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Exciting News! Our CEO, LaVada English is featured in Canva Rebel Magazine. Read all about her passions, dedication to change, and her new children’s book, Kyla Believes.
Innovation is defined as, “the introduction of new things or methods.” The marketplace, however, would define it as the vehicle by which companies set themselves apart from their competition. Innovation allows companies to impact their clients and communities in new ways (which also positively impacts their bottomline).
How do we become innovators? It’s been said that necessity is the mother of invention, but its father is creativity. So, if it’s creativity that breeds innovation, what breeds creativity? Your team already has a diversity of thought and skill that, given the right environment, could flourish into fresh ideas. How do you create that ideal environment? Here are six ideas to get you and your team on the path towards innovation.
Knowing Our Superpowers
Creativity starts with everyone knowing what they bring to the table. We are all unique in our qualities and strengths, some of which are so innate that we may not even know all of them! Encourage your team (and yourself) to take some time to explore their natural talents and inclinations. In my article, “The Strengths of YOU,” I provide a variety of ways to get started on this journey.
Looking for a little more guidance as you seek to reach your full potential? Our Clifton Strengths Assessment and Training course is a great tool to facilitate that. The course not only helps you identify your personal strengths, but also equips you to create a foundation for creative collaboration among your diversely-skilled team members.
Set Up Strategy Meetings
Separate from your weekly/monthly staff meetings, prioritize these brainstorming sessions as a way to corporately look over short- and long- term goals and open discussion as to how to get there. This is also a great opportunity for leaders and staff to voice project/task challenges that out-of-the-box thinking from someone a few steps removed could address. As leaders, some structure for these sessions is required, but don’t overschedule the agenda. Leave room for productive tangents.
Similar to strategy meetings, team retreats are a great way to get the gang together to discuss the future of your organization.
However, sometimes, you just need to get out of dodge.
Whether it’s an overnight somewhere or simply a private room at the local brewery, team retreats allow you and your team to take a step away from day-to-day tasks and free up some mental bandwidth. A change of scenery cultivates a change of perspective, which can lead to creative ideas and solutions that may not have been generated in the good ol’ conference room.
Of course, retreats shouldn’t be all about work. Incorporate social activities that bring your team together to not talk about work. A long way from trust falls and awkward ice breakers, activities like escape rooms, scavenger hunts, and sporting events are only a few of the ways that businesses are improving staff comradery and culture. Have a lot of remote workers? There are also plenty of virtual options to accomplish the same goal.
Extra bonus? Your team will feel seen and valued by your investment of time and financial resources to help them take a pause from their day-to-day grind.
Ensure All Ideas are on the Table
In group settings, set the tone for the discussion and assume the role of facilitator. While you may be well-versed in diplomacy, some of your staff may not (“Jim, that idea is ridiculous”). Set clear expectations with your staff to provide a platform for everyone’s creativity.
Whether it’s a formal meeting/retreat debrief or a simple, quarterly check-in, conducting workplace culture audits is an effective way to gauge if your staff feels heard (or if they even valued enough to speak up in the first place!). Without a sense of belonging, your team’s creativity won’t see the light of day, let alone flourish. Employees engage when they feel they belong, so the time it takes to develop a mechanism for this feedback is time well spent. Not sure what questions to include in your survey? We’d love to help!
Want to learn more?
Creativity vs. Innovation, Business News Daily
Do You Have What It Takes to Help Your Team Be Creative?, Harvard Business Review
Are you a coach for social services case managers? Bright Places is developing a course just for you! Find out how to empower your clients to create stronger relationships with the communities they serve. Here’s just a sneak peak of what you’ll learn through our Coaching in Social Services course.
One-on-one meetings with your managers shouldn’t be one-sided. Unleash your creativity by asking intentional questions that support your own growth and help you thrive where you are. You most likely don’t have your manager’s undivided attention very often, so maximize that time by ensuring that both of you get your needs met.
Understanding and embracing diversity is crucial for fostering inclusive work environments and achieving professional success, and it’s also imperative to the richness of our personal lives as well! Learn more about identifying your own xenophobia using these helpful steps.