Could your business be more innovative?

Growing your business? Launching new products? Going in a new direction?  Don’t get stuck in a rut when it comes to your thinking. Ask yourself and your employees these eight questions to help increase creativity and innovation within your company:

1.     Is there a better way? Your existing processes may be optimal, but you won’t know unless you investigate other options. Challenge yourself and your team to reexamine long-standing practices and rethink systems.

2.     Will this work?  If you’re taking new actions, ask yourself whether they are helping your business work towards its main goals. If new directions are taking you further from your core business, will they help the company or harm it? Align your actions with your mission statement and track their success.

3.     Can this system be more efficient? It’s great to have an effective solution for your customers, but you don’t need to stop there. Can you pare down your system, speed it up, or refine it? Test it and adapt it – and keep improving.

 4.     Are you open to fresh ideas? Talk to other experts in your industry, related industries, and those people at the cutting edge of technology. Be open to new ideas, partnerships, and technologies. Your business won’t be a leader if it’s operating in a bubble.

5.     Is the business inspiring us? Look for inspiring speakers and trainers to keep you and your team motivated. Is there a TEDtalk that would give your team a chance to hear an inspiration speaker? Send them a link and encourage them to watch it at work.

6.     Are you doing your research? New ideas and possibilities won’t simply turn up on your desk. Hunt them out by being active on social media, reading books, brainstorming and getting input from your whole team.

7.     Are you hiding from your issues? The worst way to find a solution to a problem is to ignore it. Make problem-solving fun by involving the whole team, even those whose work doesn’t relate directly to the issue. Face issues head-on and as a unit.

8.     Are we happy to embrace change? Many businesses want to be innovative, but strongly resist change. Change isn’t easy, but it’s a vital part of being creative and staying at the forefront of your industry. Embrace change by regularly updating plans and making small, incremental improvements in your systems and processes.

By Manisha Kesha