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Six tips for creating a vibrant ideas economy

By pa360, Apr 6 2015 02:18PM

Every great innovation is ignited by the spark of a great idea. In life, without the capacity to create ideas it is difficult to respond to challenges, explore options and take decisions. Likewise in business, ideas increase capacity to control risk, inform the development of strategy, shape the targeting of resources and lead to the creation of new products.

An ideas economy is one where the demands, created by the need to solve problems, trigger an automatic or 'cultural' problem-solving response. In an ideas economy, thinking creatively is not a random reaction to circumstances, it is hard-wired and part of your routine. Here are six tips for creating a dynamic ideas economy.

1. encourage experimentation - few will have the courage to step out of their comfort zone, without knowing that they are permitted to do so. A culture of experimentation must be created from the top, modelled by senior leadership and reflected in behaviours across your organisation.

2. permit failure - the right to experiment is worth little unless those who dare to try have the permission to fail. Permitting failure is no more to recognise that the process of development, growth and opportunity is about learning and in order learn, you sometime need to make mistakes.

3. encourage networking - ideas are best developed when people are encouraged to share thoughts and bounce ideas off each other. To make this happen you have to encourage people to network. Rather than developing formal structures for this, all that may be required is for you to utilise existing structures such as email and employee forums.

4. actively listen to what people have to say - don't ask people for an opinion if you are not genuinely interested in listening to what they have to say. Few things are as frustrating to those trying to be heard as the sense that you are just going through the motions with them. If you want people to feel valued, then don't humour them.

5. provide incentives and rewards - every economy requires stimulus or some form of incentive to kick start it or to sustain its momentum. This is even more likely to be the case if are trying to encourage behaviours that might not have been actively encouraged in the past. Incentives can be as simple as creating a culture of affirmation that recognises and acknowledges those who come up with the best ideas. In addition, you may be able to provide more tangible incentives as the resources of your organisation allow.

6. prototype ideas - there is no point encouraging ideas generation if you are unwilling to put viable ideas into practice. As well as providing potential solutions to your problems, acting on ideas also builds confidence, encourages others to get involved & lets people know that their efforts are valued and appreciated.

Creating and establising an ideas economy, ensures that you are better able to achieve maximum value from the skill and knowledge assets within your organisation.

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