Allowing Time for Innovation is a Key to Success
If you were asked to list the companies that you consider the most innovative, who would you choose? Big names such as Google and Facebook are likely to rank highly on your list, and rightfully so. These names are synonymous with innovation in the digital world and consistently produce products that keep their users entranced for hours. 3M also deserves mentioning, as they have been one of the most consistently innovative companies throughout their history, producing products that were cutting edge in their day, such as Post-It Notes and roll tape.
So, how do these companies manage to consistently produce innovative ideas, products, and services? Quite simply, they allow their employees time for innovation. In fact, 3M has long applied the 15% rule to their creative employees, allowing them to utilize 15% of their work day for personal projects or experimentation, so long as they share their ideas and discoveries with their colleagues.
This is a recognition of the basic, but immutable truth that time to innovate is time invested. Allowing innovators time to relax their minds and gain a fresh perspective on a problem is often the key to its solution. But these companies are quite large, and extremely wealthy, making it easier for them to allow employees more freedom with their time. How can a small to mid-size business make time for its most creative thinkers to come up with new ideas and solutions when there’s, frankly, just so much to be done?
One answer is to identify the most creative thinkers within a company—across all departments—and create an innovation task force that is allowed consistent time to meet and discuss personal projects, potentially even off-site. Encouraging camaraderie and performance amongst this group of thinkers by providing lunch for meetings, bonuses or other perks for participation may also be beneficial.
Another idea is to take the time to prioritize employees’ daily tasks and look to off-load more basic, time consuming tasks from innovative thinkers in order to allow them more time to relax their minds and let their creativity flow. Outsourcing some of these duties, or even bringing in temporary labor to help out could to free up this time, but be careful to not just move work from one employee to the other internally without a clear plan.
Additionally, many companies also develop innovation committees that are tasked with spending time discussing new ideas and areas for improvement together on a regular basis. This is especially true of franchise systems, such as AtWork, that can draw on the diverse knowledge of individuals from across the country. The camaraderie of a franchise system, and the knowledge that innovation can help increase the brand’s overall value, go a long way toward encouraging participation in such groups.
For companies to not only succeed but truly innovate within their industry, they must realize that allowing their most creative thinkers the room to do what they do best is truly an investment. For those that do, the future may be especially bright.
If you’d like to learn more about the AtWork opportunity and how our dedicated franchisees across the country work together daily to foster innovation within the staffing industry, click HERE or call 888-553-1745 today!