Companies are learning that they have to innovate to hedge against digital disruption and continue to have success in the market. At Blue Acorn iCi, we recognize that innovation is crucial to the longevity of our business and want to help others do the same.
One way to ensure that your company keeps its edge is to embrace and cultivate the innovative thinking of your employees. But how can your company do that? We’ll offer some insights into our ideology and processes, as well as highlight some of our team members and their idea generation.
Focusing on the Future
As a business, balancing a focus on the current task at hand with what’s next, can help you identify trends and new opportunities for growth in your industry.
Blue Acorn iCi strives to maintain an environment that embraces a healthy focus on the future. Greg Boone, Co-CEO of Blue Acorn iCi, shared his philosophy on the importance of investing in your company’s own transformational journey. Because our leadership prioritizes innovation, our company has been able to look at the market, identify a new opportunity, and execute on that opportunity to create business growth, time and time again.
Make sure you’re leading your business with a healthy focus on what’s next by staying abreast of developments in your own market. Keeping up with what’s working in your market, and even in other markets, is valuable; many times you can translate ideas from one vertical to another with simple adaptations. Just creating awareness is the first step in the ability to take advantage of a new opportunity.
Soren Kaplan said it well in his HBR article on innovation at Zipcar: “Innovative companies have innovative cultures”. When employees are free to share their ideas, it allows communities to begin to form around new ideas. And that’s exactly what leads to a culture of innovation within a company, and drives new innovations in the future.
Encouraging employee creativity can be as simple as creating an environment for new ideas to be heard and supported. Something like providing a forum where employees are given the green light to speak up about their ideas can be tremendously beneficial for organizations. Blue Acorn iCi, for example, provides multiple open meeting venues, both on and offline, where employees have the opportunity to present ideas. Employees are encouraged to engage and ask questions because collective sharing and open discussion not only builds on ideas, it builds better teams.
Putting Ideas into Practice at Blue Acorn iCi
Because of our leadership’s openness to creativity, we’ve had success with internal innovation at Blue Acorn iCi. Employees like Kyle Baker, a senior AEM consultant, possesses great ideas around business efficiency from his day-to-day work with enterprise clients. By expressing his ideas to Blue Acorn iCi leadership, Baker has been able to win company support for an internal project aimed at reducing time-to-delivery for client projects.
Some Blue Acorn iCi employees are interested in the Internet of Things (IoT). Javon Hart, one of our AEM consultants, is one such employee. Hart applies his passion for IoT to identification of new ventures in the space. He recently spoke about Actions on Google during a company-wide Tech Talk and showed us not only the ins and outs of the software, but offered his insights into the possible applications of the software.
Finding ways to make space for the creative thinking of your employees will yield a strong ROI every time. Not only will new ideas be identified, but your employees will be happier having an outlet to contribute.
Leading The Way
Clearing the way for employees to create is just the first step to fully embracing innovation in your workplace. It’s like a garden: your job isn’t done once you’ve put the plants in the ground. You have to tend to the garden. Likewise, you have to tend to the creative space you’ve made for your employees, guiding the creativity to grow and prosper.
A strong way to guide your employees’ creativity toward growth is to ensure they understand the company’s goals, and more importantly, the company’s challenges. Blue Acorn iCi is transparent with its people, and provides this type of insight, which drives employees to find solutions.
There’s no better litmus test for an idea than testing it in the market. We spoke with Mark Kelley, Vice President of Digital Engagement at Blue Acorn iCi, who believes new ideas should be tested early with prospective users to determine if the market actually sees value in the idea.
Mark believes that exposing ideas to the market, or even putting them into practice in a small way, can help validate them, shape them, and justify the case for investing in them.
Innovation is one of the key ways for companies to not only stay alive, but move ahead in our ever changing digital environment. By implementing these ideas into your business, through both leadership and mentorship, the path to success is wide open.
Check back for more posts in this innovation series!