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-- Lisa Elder

Tech Savvy Women
Advancing Professional Women

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It Takes Time to be Innovative


Innovation and creativity don’t come overnight; it isn’t something that you can turn on like a light switch. Today’s businesses are starting to learn that you need to provide employees with space and time to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions.

It Takes Time to be Innovative - Tech Savvy WomenI participated in a Smart Business Women panel discussion that focused on how women leaders are setting the pace in business. I had the opportunity to speak to the idea that innovation takes time.

“One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a business leader is to try to force innovation. The success rate tends to be very low when you demand that an employee or group of employees drop everything and quickly come up with a brand new idea.

“It takes time to be innovative.”

“You have to give people time to think and time to tinker. You may even need incentive-based activities that encourage them to take a step away from their everyday job that has multiple obligations.

“Give them a chance to work on or discuss ways to streamline, enhance or impact the organization as a whole from an operations standpoint. Innovation can be as simple as transforming a process, or as complicated as jumping into a new market with new products. In either case, it needs a chance to breathe in order to work.

“If you have diverse people at the table — different ages, backgrounds, experiences, and ethnic backgrounds — and you allow everyone to participate and it’s not a one-sided discussion, oftentimes you can create new ideas and get out of groupthink. I’ve been in many organizations where groupthink happens because most everybody at the table is exactly alike. They can’t be innovative and they can’t foster new agendas because they can’t get out of their own way.”

To read the rest of the interview and the interviews of the other panelists, click here.

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