How to Spark Innovation in Your Start-Up

Companies are always facing pressure to innovate. From small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, no one is immune to this pressure. For some, innovation is harder to implement and many companies end up failing because they aren’t able to effectively create a culture or company where it has a strong presence or is made a […]

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Companies are always facing pressure to innovate. From small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, no one is immune to this pressure. For some, innovation is harder to implement and many companies end up failing because they aren’t able to effectively create a culture or company where it has a strong presence or is made a priority.

Large companies also typically have a harder time with evolving and changing because they are much more established and have larger numbers of employees, creating more structure and hierarchy.

Having a start-up puts you in a unique position where things aren’t yet set in their ways and it is easier to make changes to your company. That doesn’t mean that innovating is always easy though; below are some ways that you can start and continue to spark innovation in your company to ensure its longevity.

 Create a Culture That Fosters Creativity and an Entrepreneurial Spirit

 A huge problem that is created in many companies is that the culture that begins to form over time eventually leads to less innovation and growth. With the structures and reward systems that are set in place, it facilitates more narrow-minded thinking, which limits worker’s abilities to think in different and non-traditional ways.

To overcome this, a culture of creativity and entrepreneurism should be established to encourage your employees to do their work in new ways. If your company is more risk-tolerant your employees, when challenged, will be able to find more opportunities for innovation and development by coming up with new solutions to problems that are faced.

You can also restructure your performance management by allowing for failure, encouraging ambiguity and uncertainty and focusing more on the long-term bigger picture of where the company is going. A crucial part of creating a culture with an entrepreneurial spirit is enabling all of your workers to think independently regardless of their position.

Allow resources to be dedicated to this new way of structuring your company and your employees will have the flexibility and confidence to pursue more innovative, creative projects. 

 Be Able to Adapt and Evolve to Overcome Stagnation

A strength of start-ups is that they typically don’t have rigid systems and are not tied-up in existing processes. If you notice your start-up becoming stagnant, look at challenges from new and varying angles to maintain an adaptable problem-solving style. Many become stuck in a rut and will not change their products or offerings to a continually evolving marketplace.

Being able to continually evolve is crucial in keeping your business around for the long-term. To prevent processes from becoming stagnant, a bottom-up flow should be incorporated into the structure of your business. Your lower-level employees need to be motivated, educated and feel empowered to be creative and work in different ways.

Sometimes making a change can be risky but it is those risks that can become pivotal to launching your start-up on a trajectory that you may have never thought of before. Change can be hard but it is necessary to be able to think of things in different ways and not get stuck in a routine.

 Set-up Efficient and Effective Problem-solving Processes to Combat Rigidity in Your Company

Being able to be flexible is vital in an organization to be able to handle unexpected changes that may arise. If you are unable to be flexible, your company will suffer because you may be cutting yourself off from future opportunities. Continuing to be rigid and to do something because it has worked in the past will eventually lead to negative outcomes for your start-up.

You must be able to accept feedback and assess things that may not be working well in the current state of how you run your business. Look at what your company does well and see how that can continue to be applied and utilized to propel your business forward. Extending this idea of flexibility to your employees is what will enable your company to have these problem-solving processes in place.

Fostering a culture of trust with your employees and allowing them to utilize their strengths will create a more productive employee and company. Keep in mind that the opposite of rigidity is not no structure at all; having a structure in place is still necessary to be successful and innovative, but the right processes that allow for change should be set in place. Setting up these processes will enable your company to evolve and innovate and keep your business growing and successful.

 Take Challenges That Your Company Faces and Turn Them into Opportunities

Being able to identify a challenge or problem that faces your company and turning that into an opportunity can be very difficult. You must be able to recognize an opportunity in a problem first and then be able to come up with a solution to the challenge.

Once you finally are able to do that and turn the solution into an opportunity, it must then be implemented into your business. Hard times and challenges you encounter will teach you lessons and help you learn and grow to become stronger in the future. Utilizing your employees during challenging times or when you’ve encountered a failure is a great way to come up with a solution.

This is where the problem-solving processes that you’ve set in place become helpful as well. When you can use these problem-solving skills and have a culture of openness and growth, you will be able to learn from the failure that you’ve encountered and take that as a learning opportunity to better your business and be more prepared in the future.

Sparking and maintaining innovation in a company is not an easy feat. Many challenges will arise and you have to be able to always evolve and be flexible so you don’t miss out on potential opportunities for your business. Continue to always listen to feedback and adapt and your company will be able to stand the test of time and succeed where so many other companies cannot.

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