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  • Writer's picturecarolineswiftholden

Three Ways to Spark Innovation in Your Workplace



In our rapidly changing world and automation just around the corner, the best weapon for humans and companies are new ideas. In order for your business or your career to flourish, finding opportunities to remain competitive or find innovative solutions in this fast changing world is taking advantage of people's ideas and executing them quickly. Though many companies encourage their employees to share their ideas with upper management, it can be hard for younger employees or employees in non-creative roles to figure out just how to share their ideas.


For example, early in my career I was a junior producer in a major ad agency in New York City. A few months into the job, I was ecstatic to hear that our company was having a competition where any employee could pitch ideas to the top creative directors in the company. I came up with a pitch for a new app, and waited to hear when and where the pitch session would be. Weeks passed and no word was spread around. Turned out, that although the company had invited everyone in the company to come up with ideas, they only sent the email about how to enter to the “creative teams” and the competition was long gone. 


When I went to my bosses to ask how I could pitch the idea anyways, I was sent on a goosechase where executives kept sending me to the same people all of whom said they couldn’t help me. The app I wanted to pitch, ended up being created by a different agency five years later and was a huge hit.


So, how can we create opportunities for employees to share their ideas in a productive way?


Competitions


Although the competition my old company hosted failed to live up to my own expectations, competitions are a fantastic way to help promote sharing creative ideas in the workplace. Make sure when you announce the competition that you know exactly when, where, and how employees will be able to submit their ideas right away and publicize it so that everyone, no matter their department, position, or age, can participate.


Designated Pitching Space


Try having a designated place that is easy for employees to find to share their ideas. Having a part on the company website, a slack channel, or an “Ideas Box” where employees can submit ideas that’s open all year round is a great way to promote creativity. The key is making sure that all employees know how to do it and are encouraged to participate frequently.


Go-To Person


Another way to promote sharing ideas in the office is to have a specific individual in the office with an “open door” policy who encourages employees to come forward. If you’re a really small company, maybe it’s the CEO or a VP, but if you’re a larger company finding someone who is a real people connector who can make introductions or help bring these projects to life. Make sure that this “go-to” person is well publicized and that everyone in the office knows that they can pitch them their ideas and actually know that it might make an impact.


Creating opportunities for all employees to be innovative isn’t just a good idea, it’s imperative for organizations futures to remain competitive. Just because Philip works in accounting and doesn’t know how to code doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have a fantastic idea for a marketing campaign or a new app!


How do you promote creativity in your workplace or how have you shared (or failed at sharing) your ideas in the workplace?

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