How to Encourage Small Innovations (HBR)

Innovation plays a critical role in a company’s future, but companies often hinder themselves by focusing on finding the next big thing, when in reality, the next small thing might be more beneficial.

The more that employees are encouraged to think creatively and apply that creativity, the more flexible in practice and nimble in responsiveness a company becomes. When you take pressure off people to come up with a “big” idea, you encourage the creativity that can bring about incremental innovations. As a result, a new service or product offering may emerge, but it’s more likely that you will optimize your operations for cost, quality, efficiency, and speed.

At its core, innovation is applied creativity. And, it is my belief since I have seen it for years is that most employees can be encouraged to be creative, if you want them to be.

How can you encourage small innovations?

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First posted on 1/29/2009