You can't simply hire people and wait around expecting them to come up with creative business strategies. Sure, finding the right talent is part of the equation, but the next step is ensuring you provide an atmosphere and culture that fosters innovation.
How Do You Get to This Point?
First, actively assess those in a leadership role and look at what their priorities are. A recent blog post for Harvard Business Review indicated an environment that enables creative thinking is brought about by managers and supervisors who possess a strong sense of curiosity in their companies. This characteristic can be contagious. It leads others to examine the ways they perform their work, as well as the business as a whole. People will take advantage of the opportunity to bring forward new ideas and valuable questions.
Cultivate Your Leaders
Engaged leaders put their vision into action and use it to test out ways of improving the company. Whether that's increasing the value clients perceive or augmenting various operations, leadership from the CEO down to departmental heads is integral to creating a culture of innovation. Following this line of thought, the way businesses handle "failure" has a profound influence on generating a culture of innovation. Do you dismiss or punish failure or embrace the opportunity it creates to question and assess how you work?
It is important to encourage a supportive climate for testing out new ideas. Without new ideas, how will you optimize your business operations?
In too many cases, managers and other leaders are too frightened of failure and of questions being asked because they see them as signs of weakness instead of strength. Demonstrate the confidence and trust you have in your employees and colleagues in order to foster a work environment that embraces questions and experimentation. When companies hold the reins too tightly, employees become disengaged because they will not see the opportunity to explore their ideas or questions. They will not see how they can have a meaningful impact.
Before you bring on new talent, it's important to ensure you have the structures in place that will enable these individuals to do their best work. Otherwise, you'll have trouble seeing the benefits.