Make time to find the right idea
I recently had what I considered to be a great idea. It was something that would help both me and my department and it was, in my opinion, the next best thing to sliced bread. I shared my brilliance with some of my co-workers and everyone agreed that I was on the right track, that what I was looking for not only could be accomplished but that it could be considered a benefit to our clients. I modestly pat myself on the back, and then tried to find someone with more experience in these matters to help me.
After a month nothing happened and no one could find time to help me. I assumed that my proposal was dead in the water.
It’s not that my idea wasn’t a good suggestion, and it’s not that no one else thought it was a good plan. But when your employees are constantly trying to help clients and improve current products and bring in new clients and put out today’s fires, who has time to think about tomorrow or the next day? It’s great to be creative and try to bring something innovative into the fold, but unless that new product is a time machine that lets you get more done in the course of a day, there’s a big chance that your next big thing is never going to leave the drawing board.
Innovation is what drives the economy. Without someone creating and implementing an idea for a product, businesses would never develop. Some of the most creative people that you will ever meet are highly successful entrepreneurs, because they can see something that the rest of the general public can’t and they can see how to make that idea happen. The problem is that this surge of inspiration can be hard to maintain over the long term, especially once your business starts to grow. Many business owners and managers are struggling to keep their operations above water, fighting recessions and downturns in economy and competition and market saturation. Bringing something new into play usually is not an option. But innovation is what can keep a business afloat even if it seems like too much time/effort/money at the start. The right idea at the right time can mean a whole new avenue of options for your business, including an increased market share, new clients, and new branding. Of course, all of these things usually result in more revenue, as well.
The best ideas and inspiration will come from two places: your employees and your clients. Who knows your product better than the people that you’ve hired to create it, and the people who pay you to use it? Keep the lines of communication open, both internally and externally. No idea is too small or insignificant to be looked at. Encourage your staff to work together and brainstorm and help each other come up with solutions to problems, rather than just managing the day’s to-do list and moving on. Not every suggestion is going to result in a reasonable product, but you’ll never know that if you don’t take the time to examine the risk/reward factors and determine the idea’s true potential.
If your organization doesn’t currently have something in place that allows employees to communicate ideas to their managers, you can always suggest that it should be. I’m fortunate enough to work at a place that is encouraging this type of openness (which is how I found out that my idea isn’t dead but rather it’s being considered and talked about), but not everyone has that creative channel available to them. Maybe that can be your first great innovation. You should never be afraid to talk to the people in charge and let them know that you have an idea that could make the company better.