Ensure all your staff know that you want to hear their ideas. Make sure they understand how innovation keeps your firm competitive.
Allocate time for thinking about different approaches. For example:
Place suggestion boxes around the workplace. Appeal for original ways to solve particular problems. Keep your door open to anyone with new ideas.
Encourage people to work together and share ideas. Individuals within the team can feed off each other – exploring, testing and refining new approaches.
Your staff may be unfamiliar with the skills involved in creative problem-solving. Consider training sessions in techniques such as brainstorming, lateral thinking and mind-mapping.
Broadening people's experiences can be a great way to kickstart innovation.
Encourage employees to keep looking anew at the way they approach their work. Ask people what works well and what doesn't.
Respond enthusiastically to all ideas. Never make someone offering an idea, however hopeless, feel foolish. Give even the most apparently outlandish of ideas a chance to be aired.
A certain amount of risk-taking is inevitable with creative thinking. Allow people to learn from their mistakes. Don't put off the creative flow by penalising those whose ideas don't work out.
Motivate individuals or teams who come up with winning ideas by actively recognising creativity, for example through an awards scheme.
Creativity is only worthwhile if it results in action. Provide the time and resources to develop and implement those ideas that are worth acting upon.