12 Business Days of Salesforce: 6 Tips for Innovation

 12 Business Days of Salesforce: 6 Tips for InnovationInnovation is defined as new ideas, plus action or implementation, which results in improvement, gain or profit. It’s a fairly comprehensive definition, but it’s missing a key component of what drives innovation: people! 

So how do you foster innovation in your company? You start with inspiring and encouraging people to innovate.

Innovation is more than just new products, new services and new markets. It’s about working toward constant improvement and change. You can’t just gather your team in a conference room, sit them down, and say, “Today I decided that we’re going to start innovating. Ready…go!” But there are some steps that you can take to create a culture that breeds and encourages innovation — and gives people the tools to have their ideas heard.

So for the 6th day of the 12 (Business) Days of Salesforce, we bring you: 6 Tips for Innovation.

1. Make Innovating Everyone’s Job

It used the be that those in leadership were the ideas men and women. But technology (like Chatter) has made even employees who may be lower on the totem pole feel like the CEO is accessible. This means there are more and more opportunities for “the little guy” to speak up when he or she has an idea to make the company better. This doesn’t mean everyone needs to have a meeting with the CEO, but there are more tools than ever before that enable employees to find the right person to air their concerns and provide suggestions. Leadership should not only be welcoming these types of conversations — they should be actively encouraging them. 

 12 Business Days of Salesforce: 6 Tips for Innovation

2. Trial and Error Is King

The key word in that phrase, and the one that companies are most afraid of, is error. But think of the countless examples of game-changer innovations that came from mistakes: penicillin, the pacemaker, even chocolate chip cookies! The list goes on. Error isn’t something that should necessarily be punished, but not every mistake will result in a stroke of brilliance. Instead, the focus should be on uncovering the lessons in the mistakes. 

When it comes to trying out new ideas, without fear of error — that’s when things happen. It’s important to know when it’s time to stop debating an idea, and when it’s time to actually test it. 

3. Highlight the Learning Experience

Every single person has a story about when they failed — and if the person has any insight, it comes with a lesson at the end. By highlighting these “failures” in your organization — even among your most important leaders — this further drives the point home that trial and error is the key to success, and mistakes aren’t something to be afraid of in your company. 

Here at Salesforce, we have a group in Chatter called “Airing of Grievances” where employees do exactly that — air their grievances! Whether it’s about a workflow problem or a stalled elevator, employees are free to have their voices heard, which usually starts a discussion about possible solutions or ways to do something better. There’s even a hashtag for a grievance that results in an innovative solution: #GrievanceToPraise.

4. Make Innovation More Widespread

Innovation doesn’t have to mean a brand-new product that disrupts the market. It can mean new ideas about goals, administration innovation, changes in workflow, or new ideas about mission or values. Encouraging employees to constantly be looking for job-related incremental change keeps them on their toes — and fosters an innovative mindset. 

5. Have a Vision

The vision for what innovation looks like at a company most often comes from the leadership. This means illustrating the vision, the goals, the challenges, as well as giving employees a sense of where they fit into the vision. Communication on this front is key and can take on many forms: a company-wide call, a fireside chat, even an email to the company from the CEO. 

6. Build Partnerships

Innovation can also come from the classic, “two heads are better than one,” adage. By partnering up with other organizations you are opening yourself, and your company, up to a fresh set of eyes with a brand new perspective and ideas for ways of improvement. Partnerships also give you an inside look at another company’s organizational structure, workflow, and management that could spark an idea for how to alter your own company. 

Do you have any additional ideas for sparking innovation within your own organization? Keep an eye out for the remaining installments in the 12 Business Days of Salesforce holiday series!

Want to learn more success secrets for winning at work from 20 top influencers? Visit our website or download the free e-book. 

 12 Business Days of Salesforce: 6 Tips for Innovation

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