5 Tricks to Encourage Innovation at Your Startup

August 12, 2017

10:30 am

If you want to become a great entrepreneur, you should keep in mind that the accumulation of resources is only a means of achieving your goals and not the goal itself. That being said, the fact that your methods of doing business are currently effective doesn’t mean they will stay effective forever. Sure, certain industry standards are popular for a reason, but one of their most jealously guarded secrets is the fact that they give the most to those who are the first to adopt them.

With this in mind, here are a few ways to encourage innovation at your startup and always stay at least one step ahead of the curve:

Introduce Changes Gradually

The first thing you need to keep in mind is the fact that people are usually afraid to step out of their comfort zone. This means that abandoning your previous business model too soon might make your employees subconsciously shun this new trend you are trying to introduce.

That’s why you should start gradually. Test the efficiency of a new system on a few of your employees. Once you make sure that the new system is valid, have the employees present it to their colleagues. This method of peer learning can be extremely helpful and a lot less intimidating than any management-imposed measure.

Listen to Your Employees

One of the greatest problems with innovation in the office is that it can sometimes feel like you are making everyone else change their methods based on your whim. In order to avoid this, you need to let everyone have a say and accept any innovation that seems like it could bring value to the company. Sure, this may seem a bit risky, but it will show everyone that this company isn’t just your own personal project, where all the people around you are playing silent sidekicks.

One of the prime examples of how this works is Google’s famous 20 percent time policy, where everyone can spend 20 percent of their working hours presenting their own innovations.

Focus on Trends That Increase Quality

If you’re a manufacturer of certain goods, it’s much easier to determine whether a certain trend is increasing the quality of your business. Today, we live in an era where present day devices, software and trends have a way of making traditional machines more precise.

The perfect example of this can be seen on car grinding technology that was significantly improved through the subtle introduction of a sophisticated computer automation. The best part about these changes is that they make the job of your employees easier and the quality of the end product much higher. This means that no one will even bother to ask why you introduced these changes in the first place, seeing how such a thing will be more than self-explanatory.

Go Easy with Discipline 

Keep in mind that whenever you decide to put a large group of people into a new environment, mistakes are bound to happen. Still, punishing those mistakes too eagerly or too severely may result in people not being willing to take any chances, which can slow down the integration of new ideas.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that everyone should be free to do whatever they like without any fear of a repercussion, only that you should be a bit more tolerant during this initial adaptation period. To make the long story short, employees make mistakes and good leaders allow them to.

This Isn’t Optional

Finally, you need to realize that, sooner or later, you will have to introduce some innovations into your startup. If there’s a trend that can make your employees more efficient, improve your resource management and save time, you can be sure that every single one of your competitors will adopt it as soon as they get a chance.

This initial boost in your production (or way of doing things, in general) can allow you to create higher quality products or further lower your prices, which can give you a significant temporary boost. Once others catch up with this trend (and they will) those who adopted it first will have a significant advantage. In other words, the time-span in which you’ll be able to generate the best ROI is limited.

Read more about startup and innovation tips on TechCo

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Marcus Jensen is an IT professional. He is an Editor-in-Chief of technivorz.com, and writes about technology, business and marketing.

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