While the development of innovative ideas can take time and money, having an idea doesn't cost anything. Sitting down and thinking is free. And that is how innovation always begins — with someone having an idea. So if an organisation has a hundred people, doesn't it make sense to encourage them all to think?
Think back to all of the jobs you have had in your life. How often has a manager said either of these things to you?
Thinking of new ideas to improve the way we do things is a part of your job.
You're new. There's lots to learn, but one of the advantages of being new is that you bring fresh eyes. We probably all take things for granted a bit, so if you see anything you think we could do better, please tell me.
If the answer is never, you're not alone. If you want to create an innovative culture, make it clear that thinking of better ways of doing things is part of everyone's job. That is, their job isn't just doing the things that have to be done to keep things ticking over today. It also involves thinking up ways to improve the business so it will still be relevant and successful in five years' time.
How do you do that? In some roles, being innovative is a natural part of the job. An intrinsic part of the CEO's job, for example, is working out what to change to ensure the company prospers. But further down the food chain, many employees simply ‘do their job', rather than questioning whether it could be done better.