Here’s an admission: spending my corporate career at one company in the business-to-business world, we had to fight for focused time to innovate. This was especially true in the early years. It improved later when we had an Idea Magnet as our CMO. Even then, though, our broader organization was skeptical about anything that resembled unfettered ideation and exploring future possibilities seemingly disconnected from today’s operational pressures.
I share that because, in my VP of strategic market planning role, any of the following ideas would have been tough to visibly support. The alternative? Employ subterfuge or naming things something they weren’t so that we could keep innovation under the corporate radar.
Still, if you want to grow, you need to create space for innovation to happen. Ideally, this open space isn’t once a year. You want to find time weekly for innovation, whether exploratory or tied to current opportunities.
3 Ways to Make More Time Weekly for Innovation
If your culture is supportive of visible innovation (or you want to instigate the change that leads to it), here are three weekly innovation activities to consider:
1) Encourage Random Acts of Innovation to explore innovative ideas.
Promote a culture where spontaneous and creative thinking is not just accepted but encouraged. Supporting impromptu brainstorming and experimentation empowers employees to think creatively and innovate spontaneously.
2) Introduce Flash Challenges for opportunities requiring near-term, innovative responses.
Quick, time-bound challenges can ignite creative thinking under pressure. These rapid innovation exercises push teams to think quickly and innovatively, leading to unexpectedly brilliant solutions.
3) Organize a dedicated Idea Day with no other work scheduled.
Set aside a day where at least several hours of the work schedule are suspended to let employees focus exclusively on developing and sharing innovative ideas. This break from routine can fuel a surge in creativity and a wealth of innovative concepts.
Where can you make innovation a weekly focus?
Will one of these innovation activities work in your organization as is or with some adaptation? Are there other ways that you’re finding to make innovation a regular focus?