Being creative is no longer restricted to those in the arts or design industries, just as working innovatively is no longer only for scientific or technological businesses.
It is more important than ever for all companies to extend themselves and implement new or creative strategies to solve problems and create opportunities, whatever the industry.
An innovative workplace culture enables engagement between teams or departments that were once isolated, as well as the contribution of ideas from all employees, not just management – leading to new or improved processes and business outcomes.
It is important to remember that innovation is not an organic outcome of business. A creative and innovative culture needs to be created and continuously maintained. Tangible ways to help foster this which can be implemented in all workplaces include:
Open communication channels
Does your junior staff member have access to the CEO? This may seem like a strange concept but it is crucial for all employees to be able to communicate openly with one another, regardless of hierarchy, because good ideas can come from anyone.
Take our leap into online gaming as an example, which became a global success through a great mind and powerful idea combined with the support, backing and guidance of an experienced hand. HurtWorld was developed in partnership with Bankroll Studios, headed by QuantumIT employee Spencer Rose. Spencer had been independently developing the idea for almost a decade and when he discussed his plans with our Managing Director Guthrie White, QuantumIT was quick to offer its support and develop the game.
Make innovation-friendly traits part of the hiring criteria
Yes, previous experience and qualifications are the most important factors in recruiting new staff, however traits including initiative and creativity, and a desire to always learn and improve, should also be considered.
Of course, risks should be calculated, however the saying ‘no risk, no reward’ can be true for fostering innovation. For example, our development of an employer-side work placement solution to complement market-leading InPlace was risky – we built it entirely speculatively without a customer – but ended in reward. During 2015, InPlace Network was piloted in six hospitals for Healthscope which then announced they would be rolling it out nationally across their 47 hospital network. In 2016, several UK hospital trusts have signed up and there are further discussions happening with some of the world’s biggest health consortiums.
Listen to outsiders
Sometimes an outside perspective is needed to think differently about your business. Doing things the same way because ‘that’s how it’s always been done’, can stifle creativity and doesn’t result in the improvement of processes. Consider attending conferences, webinars, networking events and external training initiatives to broaden your knowledge and meet people with different ideas.
Don’t forget the big picture
It can be easy to get lost in day-to-day tasks and lose sight of the long-term vision. Always remind yourself and your colleagues of the organisation’s big picture goals, display them around the office and even make it an agenda point for meetings. Putting it on everyone’s radar helps ignite innovative thinking.
To maintain focus and drive outcomes, we emphasise the importance of a structured meeting rhythm for all teams and the leadership group. Particularly important is a fifteen-minute daily huddle, in addition to weekly, quarterly and annual strategic meetings.