In an ever-changing world, businesses are forced to innovate to stay afloat. But where do those ideas for innovation come from?

Many businesses are under resourced, with workers being forced to take on greater than usual workloads. There is the constant pressure to be on the ball and productive. With flexible work arrangements, often the lines between work and home are blurred, with workers being immersed in a constant world of data with no downtime.

In this situation, time to work is not lost, but time to think is. And without time to think, those big innovative ideas don’t come. Those innovative ideas are the things that drive a business forward and help them to achieve new levels of success.

You need to position your business so that it is ready to push forward with innovation. Here is how…

Delay The Action

These days, employees are usually in a pressured bubble of immediate action. There is always a list of jobs that need completing and barely a moment to breathe between tasks. By constantly wringing work out of your team members, how can they be expected to be innovative?

They hardly have the time to go and make a cup of coffee, let alone come up with a fantastic idea for business development. There is no opportunity to sit back, take a moment and let the creativity flow.

Give your team permission to unplug and nurture their thinking time. Great ideas don’t grow on trees and are never going to appear if your team are completely focused on their to do lists.

Encourage Big Ideas

You won’t know unless you try. And you won’t be able to try without big ideas.

Provide a safe space for your team to brainstorm and test new, potentially great ideas. This doesn’t have to be a specially designated office that sits empty waiting for ideas. But it does have to be a place without judgement and one that is full of support.

Big ideas need nurturing. An employee might come up with something amazing, but have no idea how to implement it. By allowing them the space to explore that idea away from the immediacy of their workload will enable the huge potential for success. And if they need support and assistance to see that big idea realised, then provide that too.

Think and Reflect

Does the thought of innovation scare you because of past failures? Have you considered that those idea failures were not innovation’s fault, but the haphazard production of a weary mind?

It is very hard to draw blood from a stone. Likewise, it is hard to draw out the next big idea from overworked and tired brains. If your employees are never able to escape the the day-to-day survival of keeping their head above water, then they are never going to get out of that same mental head space.

The best ideas and insights are only able to surface when people are given the time to think about them. So it is really important to allocate time for reflection. How are we doing something, how can we do it better, how can we use different resources and systems to improve?

Once you have your internal practices nailed, you can then turn that innovation towards serving your customers. What problems do our customers have that we can solve, what is the best way to solve them, and what tools do we need to do so?

No one has the capacity to constantly slog away at their daily tasks and come up with amazing innovative ideas. That is why it is vital to allow your team the space to let their creativity flow. Encourage down time, thinking time and reflection – you will be amazed by the results!