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Image Source: Day Watcher

“Nobody has a monopoly on good ideas, and you can never tell exactly when you will come up with them.” – Richard Branson

Recently, a video went viral on YouTube. It wasn’t one of those funny cat clips, but something fresh.

It was Elon Musk introducing his solution to the world’s energy problems – a home battery that runs on solar energy. He called it ‘Powerwall’.
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The 10 kWh super charger, unlike the regular ones, is thoughtfully designed to blend with the aesthetics of modern homes. Just like one of those paintings you would want on your walls.

What’s amazing about this, other than its sophistication and simplicity, is that it comes with a promise to fix the world’s energy crisis — an idea that the world has longed for decades.

Survival of the freshest

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Image credit: BPIR

When was the last time you used Orkut? Or Internet Explorer?

People often switch to better apps, gadgets, vehicles, homes — essentially, a better lifestyle. To keep up with this demand, the world constantly needs to innovate. The companies that don’t, get forgotten like one of those overdone action films.


How do you create a culture of innovation?

The backbone of a company’s success is innovation. And the fodder for innovation is culture.

What are your company’s values? What kind of team do you hire? How much freedom do you give them? These questions define the core of your company.

Here are a few ways to ensure your company is a fertile land for growing ideas:

1. Free the Fear

Fear disrupts the process of innovation. Employees who fear their bosses or the workplace in general tend to get into a shell.

Make your organization fear-free. Every employee should feel inspired when they step in. Don’t make it a rule for people to come up with ideas – they’ll come to you if you keep your doors open – or maybe even take away the doors.


2. Hire the Risk Takers

Your company won’t last if you aren’t crazy enough to execute some outrageous ideas. This is easier said than done, as you’ll need people who can do that. Those who are big, bold, and brave in their thinking. Those who can even risk their high paying job to fight for an idea they believe in.


3. Ask for Help

Ideas don’t discriminate. They don’t care if you’re a high-profile executive or a junior employee.

So don’t be consumed by your ego. Ask for help openly if you face a problem. Take a programmer’s help on your marketing hitch for a change. Go ahead and ask the office boy for his ideas. Sometimes, a problem just needs a different view point, a new angle.

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Image credit: Greater Redding Chamber of Commerce


4. Reward your team

Rewards are an important part of work life; they’re like a much-needed pat on the back.

Don’t ignore the people that come up with new ideas. Listen to them, appreciate them, and reward them openly. They are the real stars who’ll help your company grow, and keep it creative and successful.


5. Never Stop Learning

We produce what we consume.

What books are your employees reading? Does your company have a good library? Do you attend workshops? Are you exploring other spheres of work?

If you aren’t keeping pace with the times, you’ll only produce outdated products. The broader the exposure, wider the possibilities.


6. Bank Your Ideas

They might come when you’re in the loo or when you’re out on a tea break. But they could vanish just as quickly. That’s the nature of ideas.

So have a system of banking them. Use post-it notes. Encourage people to note down ideas and build on them, and you’ll see how it grows into a product.


7. Brainstorm

There’s a time for working solo and a time for brainstorming with your team.

Sometimes your team members can see something in your idea that you couldn’t spot. Almost like putting together a puzzle and finding your missing piece in another’s idea.

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Image credit: SEJ


8. Don’t Overwork Your Team

It would be unfair to expect ideas from your employees who are overworked.

A good idea comes from a good insight. A good insight is a result of thinking out-of-the-cubicle. Employees must have the time to flip through magazines, read a blog or two, and talk about the latest gadgets with others. This isn’t possible if they’re sitting over a massive task list.


9. Strive for Diversity

Hire people from all over the world – and from various sectors. Introduce an open platform to exchange ideas, share opinions and collaborate.

The more diverse a team you can form, the more scalable your ideas will be.


10. Inspire your Team to Take the Lead

Imagine if every employee felt what a CEO felt for the company. The company’s vision would resonate with them.

You can achieve this by openly discussing the company’s current and future plans. This will enable employees to connect with the company better. They’ll cease to look at work as merely a job, but as a responsibility — one that they truly care about.