Any business must regularly contend with a variety of competitors. To stand out in a crowd of companies fighting for customer and investor attention, organizations must have something unique. As innovative as a business owner is, it can never hurt to have a full team of creative individuals pitching in to offer great ideas.
Brainstorming sessions are a great way to put your team in action. It's important to note that in a brainstorming session, no idea is a bad one. All ideas should be noted and considered. If employees feel as though their ideas are always shot down, they'll eventually stop providing them.
Find creative ways to acknowledge those who come up with great ideas, and make sure those rewards can be passed along. It's important to find a way to encourage your employees to work as a team, rather than to compete for an extra bonus or a day off. Something as small as a lunchtime party after a big project is completed can create a more positive work environment.
Almost every manager on the planet claims to have an "open door policy," but few make their offices warm, comfortable places for employees to visit. A culture of innovation is not something that can be forced. It just is. It starts from the first time an employee brings an idea to you and continues as you listen to each idea and offer positive reinforcement. This is just as important when an idea is bad as it is when an idea is great.
While every idea won't be a winner, it's possible to accept employees' ideas and encourage more, even when you don't actually use each idea. By creating and maintaining an innovative culture, you'll ensure your business's long-term success, while also maintaining a positive environment for your workers.