The Importance Of Innovation In The Workplace

The Role of Innovation in Business Success

The idea of innovation involves finding solutions to the problems that are facing the organization, nation or institution. It is not necessarily something new, and it consists in using the information that’s available to come up with a solution (s) to the present problem. Innovation is crucial in today’s world especially in the place of work (Berry & Berry, 2018). When a company or a business is looking to beat the competition, increase productivity, meet customer needs and expectation, maintain a competitive advantage among others, innovation is critical. For any company to be able to penetrate into a new market faster than the rest or avoid replicating things that have been made before, innovation is the key. Therefore, in every business and workplace, innovation allows individuals to utilize the information available to them in identifying and solving problems that could sink the company. It helps companies to save money and time by introducing ways of working and doing business that is effective.

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In the workplace, innovation can be seen in the context growth which includes performance, solving problems and making critical decisions, new forms of technology among others. The crucial part of innovation in the workplace is where it improves efficiency and performance while increasing production (Bain & Kleinknecht, 2016). It can also be seen within the context of leadership where a leader can combine two styles of leadership and be effective in leading his team effectively. There are several examples of how innovation can be manifested in the place of work.

  • Creating a creative environment at the site of work.
  • Encouraging creativity through rewarding creativity and innovative ideas.
  • Allowing different viewpoints among employees in the place of work.
  • Hiring and recruiting the best talent in the place of work.
  • Creating structures in the workplace that can foster innovation.
  • Learning from failures of other companies and coming up with solutions they missed out.
  • Starting programs in the workplace for encouraging innovation for example brainstorming sessions.
  • Creating a culture of innovation by allowing employees to work in groups.
  • Giving a clear picture of the workplace goals and objectives and leaving the performance and decisions for teams to figure out ways of achieving the goals.
  • Providing employees with the resources they need to implement ideas and granting them the freedom to carry it to the end.

Innovation and creativity at the workplace can be fostered in some ways and the use of specific tools. First, there is brainstorming, in this creative tool, the company allows a group of workers, for example, four or five to sit down and think about some ideas (Markman & Wood, 2009). The problem is noted down on a board, and the team starts bringing ideas to solve the problem. Six hats of thinking is another tool where the imaginary hats represent a problem that needs to be resolved. Also, there is biomimicry where nature itself provides the solutions to the issues. There is assumption challenging, the devil’s advocate among others.

Several legislative frameworks must be considered when an organization wants to implement or carry out innovation. There are the intellectual property rights and innovation in the firm’s regulation. The regulation protects the firm’s innovation from being replicated and produced elsewhere by their rival or another company. Before a company can bring forth their innovation, they must ensure that the regulation is in effect (Drucker, 2014). Also, there is the product market regulation where the (PMR) acts as a watchdog to whether there will be competition and how it can affect innovation through the creation of barriers of entry into the market. Such regulation can help the company know whether to implement the innovation or wait. There is also the environmental and safety standards which determine whether the innovation is harmful to the environment or it is safe (Durant, 2017). Also, there is the contract enforcement regulation which assures the companies that their rights in the contracts will be upheld until the agreed time and there will be no violations. A company must look at the regulations mentioned earlier before allowing or implementing innovation. Such regulations safeguard against conflicts and unnecessary court battles.

Manifestations of Innovation in the Workplace

Command and control make the employees of the organization remain robots and tools through which the leadership and the management of the company perform their work. In the long run, the leadership style can cause drastic effects on the firm’s ability to be creative and innovative and even kill the little innovations that would be coming up (Drucker & Maciariello, 2008). That principle holds the old assumption that the leader has all the answers and he is the one who knows better. Also, it holds the belief that all leaders must know the destination and the path to that destiny which are wrong. When employees receive or get information that is critical to the success of the company, they cannot be free to share it or even when they have a solution to a problem they will be silent. Such a scenario undermines the ability of employees to contributing to the welfare of the organization.

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Innovation has its barriers, some of them are avoidable while some cannot be avoidable. The examples include fear where employees and workers fear failing or being blamed if the idea never worked (Sandberg & Aarikka-Stenroos, 2014). Also, there is the lack of good leadership, when the leader is bad and never allows his/her employees to make mistakes or gives them the freedom to try their thoughts then they can never be creative. Also, there is the lack of resources where the employees are not given the necessary support and resources to implement their ideas. Additionally, the culture of uniformity which forces employees to repeat the same thing over and over without trying new ways (Coad, Pellegrino & Savona, 2016). Also, there is resistance to change by the organizations where they refuse to allow change or assume risk in trying a new idea or solution. Most of the barriers revolve around fear of changing and breaking out of the norm by the management and the employees because of the existing cultures that do not promote creativity and innovation.

The organization that is used in this case is the Apple Inc. which has made significant milestones in innovation and creativity while retaining and meeting the needs of its customers. Apple is prepared for the risks that always come their way, for example in the launching of their phones after two years refreshing cycle instead of the three years cycle. The problem they were facing was that customers had been interviewed and only 10% felt that they would buy the new phone without any new upgrades (Leswing, 2016). The information here made Apple change its refresh cycle from three years to two years.  Taking risks for a tech company is one of the ingredients for their success and change is often welcome. As a result of that, their marketplace success can only be guaranteed by their continuous innovation and embracing of change. Customer needs come first in tech companies, and therefore, most changes are suitable for them to remain relevant.

Apple has experts and market research specialists who study the market and provide information relevant to the changes and innovation. It has its place for innovation where ideas are tested and employees make mistakes (Teece, Peteraf & Leih, 2016). However, it still insists on individual success when it comes to new ideas and encourages extensive research. As a result of the company giving room for mistakes for its employees, it has been evident that more employees are motivated to bring in new ideas that have been used to make great changes in the products. Employees are allowed to brainstorm and come up with fresh ideas about the product and how it can be changed to suit the market. In my opinion, mistakes are part of the risks people take to prove an idea or a theory (Bowers & Khorakian, 2014). All the great theorists and innovators once failed, and it is from their failure that they learned to succeed. Employees should, therefore, be given a chance to make mistakes and learn from them.

Tools and Strategies to Encourage Innovation

Frontline managers can encourage employees by allowing them the freedom to make suggestions and let them run through to fulfillment. When they succeed, they should congratulate them, and when they fail, they should give them room to find out their mistakes. For innovation to take effect, workers should be allowed to work in groups. Also, there should be a culture of innovation and systems that can sustain such a culture like brainstorming sessions. One of the barriers of innovation in Apple is the strict adherence to the innovation cycle. They tend to follow a cycle of time before they come forth with a new idea about their product which may cost them if they don’t change. Also, there is the aspect of overreliance on expert and research and development which quiets the voice of internal employees to some extent. Managers can lead by appreciating and acknowledging the cusses of an idea by an employee. Also, they can do that by giving the required resources to the employees to ensure that their ideas are funded until they produce the expected result.

Brainstorming sessions and creating thinking and discussing ideas is one way of encouraging innovation. Also, training employees on innovation and critical thinking are helpful in creating a culture of innovation in the workplace (Serrat, 2017). If managers don’t regulate their approaches when it comes to consistency, they may end up leaning towards controlling and giving orders. It is advisable that they keep checking their approaches and evaluating them to prevent the controlling nature which kills creativity in their employees (Vila, Perez & Coll-Serrano, 2014). The physical environment of the organization ensures that there is enough time for employees to play or engage in activities that make them active. By giving them timeouts for relaxing and going on breaks, they will have enough room to think about ideas. In many organizations, the environment can be changed by creating places for recreation in the place of work (Berry & Berry, 2018). Also, allowing the employees sufficient time for leisure and rest. Some legislation affects how the company operates regarding innovation. First, there is the collection and use of non-personal information. Also, there is the cooking and other technologies, disclosure to third parties and also the protection of personal information.


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