How do you start enhancing innovation in a small organization?

The keynote training presentation I did for CreativeBloc was on "Taking the NO Out of Business InNOvation," with its ideas on how to counteract ten innovation barriers. Each time I present this topic, the audience picks the barriers most relevant to their organizations for us to discuss. In that way, the presentation is never the same, covering a different five or six innovation barriers chosen by the audience.

One post-presentation evaluation thought the concepts were more suited to larger rather than small organizations, prompting today's CreativeBloc question and blog post.

In reality, the strategies in for circumventing innovation barriers are applicable in a small organization too. If you're in a smaller organization and want to improve innovation efforts, here are four specific steps you can take:

1. Do a self-assessment to figure out if you are personally creating NO's to innovation.

This assessment involves examining your personal innovative approach and also asking others who would be confident (and feel safe) in telling you if the see issues with how you conduct yourself. It's probably best to ask more general questions on where individuals in your small organization feel like they are and aren't able to contribute new ideas.

2. Get someone outside your organization to ask questions about potential barriers.

The same questions you ask yourself and a small group about contributing and acting on new ideas in your small organization need to be asked of your entire team. Having someone external ask the questions and allowing people to respond anonymously provides the greatest likelihood of getting honest answers.

3. Assess the answers to identify your innovation barriers and ways to counteract them.

Interpret the responses openly and honestly to identify innovation barriers in your organization. Begin implementing changes by involving your organization's people in sharing ideas. Be clear, however, about what role you're asking them to play. Are they simply providing input which you'll evaluate and prioritize? Or are you asking them to actually participate and own responsibility for implementing strategic fixes to the issues?

4. Watch what you say and do.

Throughout this process, display consistent daily behaviors to reinforce your words about truly wanting to create a more innovative culture. Matching what you say and do supports the individuals on your team in creating making innovative changes.

Try these 4 steps in a small or large organization when you want to experience a more innovative perspective and see better results.  – Mike Brown

If you’d like to add an interactive, educationally-stimulating presentation on strategy, innovation, branding, social media or a variety of other topics to your event, Mike Brown is the answer. Email us at or call 816-509-5320 to learn how Mike can get your audience members Brainzooming!