Encouraging Team Innovation

Innovation and trying new ideas is a huge part of discovering the most efficient and successful ways to do things, and teams can be the perfect environment to foster innovation. Teams made up of diverse people with different experiences and backgrounds come together to provide insight and fresh ways of thinking, and can work together to troubleshoot and problem solve more effectively. By using each individual member’s strengths, the team as a whole becomes stronger. However, in some cases people are intimidated by the team situation and allow themselves to be scared off of venturing new ideas or solutions. Encouraging team innovation is something you must do as the leader to create a healthy team environment.

  1. Ensure the team is a good balance of different kinds of players. If you only have creative types, you’ll get the new ideas but not the determination and organisation needed to see them through. It also means you’re overlapping to the point where people will be conflicted over which ideas to use, or feel shut out because their base is already covered. Diversify based on each member’s role, as well as their experience and approach to things to get the most innovation possible with minimum delays.
  2. Make sure everyone has a chance to get heard. Some people naturally love to share their ideas and relish being in the spotlight, finding it easy to speak in front of others. Other people may be more shy and quiet, but it doesn’t mean their ideas aren’t valid. If the only way to communicate an idea is to be loud about it, you’ll miss out on very valuable input. Work out a system so that everyone gets a chance to speak or offer up their ideas, and ensure feedback is made as a group.
  3. Try new ideas, and be constructive with criticism. A large part of fostering a good team environment is how you handle things that don’t go so well, or ideas you don’t think you can use. If people are scared of being shot down for “stupid ideas”, they’ll be less likely to suggest anything. Create an atmosphere where people feel like they can throw any idea out there regardless of whether it’s perfect or not.

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Creating an innovative team is all about getting the right mix of people with the right atmosphere – making sure people feel comfortable offering up new ideas, and that there’s a good balance of players to bring them to reality.