The word innovation appears frequently in advertisements, positioning statements, branding, marketing, mission statements and is used by most businesses and organizations in some fashion or form. But the question is how many businesses and organizations really make innovation a top priority? And how many businesses and organizations are truly good at innovation? One recent AMA/HRI study found that although most organizations say that innovation is a top priority, few companies are actually good at it.

Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach wants to know whether you have been asked and tasked to innovate within your company or organization? And the follow-up question is are you having difficulty getting started and achieving results? I suspect that many readers of this article have experienced or witnessed that one of the biggest issues with innovation is that they really are not sure just where to start. So, with that in mind, Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach offers the following list of twenty (20) tips to inspire and initiate innovation for you and your business.

Innovation Tip #1: Develop a clearly defined and focused vision for innovation within your business.

Innovation Tip #2: Develop a set of measurable goals that will clearly define what you want and need to get out of innovation.

Innovation Tip #3: Develop a system for tracking and managing innovation.

Innovation Tip #4: Develop and implement a forum for sharing. Promote the open exchange of ideas and collaboration among your co-workers and team members. The forum could be face-to-face meetings or dong so online with message boards or blogs.

Innovation Tip #5: Engage the powerful technique of brainstorming. The power of brainstorming enables you to address a business challenge, issue or opportunity and is effective because it sets no boundaries and allows people to say whatever they want.

Innovation Tip #6: Consider establishing an Innovation Team whose priority is ensuring that innovation is a priority and that there is a clearly defined and focused effort to achieve innovation in your business.

Innovation Tip #7: Research what others, outside your organization, do to initiate & inspire innovation. Set a goal to identify 3 or 4 organizations that are very innovative and then request visits to those companies to gain new perspectives on innovation.?

Innovation Tip #8: Commit to personally doing something different from your ordinary routine. For example: try a new coffee house for your morning coffee; take a different route to work; try a new menu item; or anything that you would not typically do on a daily basis.

Innovation Tip #9: Find a business coach or mentor and learn something from them.

Innovation Tip #10: Develop a proactive approach to generating new ideas. Create a list of questions/challenges you can pose to your team. This will enable you to make innovation specific and proactive and consequently have it achieve more Top Of Mind Awareness (TOMA) and yield more strategically relevant ideas.?

Innovation Tip #11: Create some momentum for innovation in your business by selecting and committing to a project that will result in a “quick win” and will provide confirmation that innovation does produce positive results.

Innovation Tip #12: Create a sense of urgency by setting an aggressive timetable for a project.

Innovation Tip #13: Reward creativity and innovation in personal and creative ways. Develop rewards that will appeal personally to an individual’s interests and values.

Innovation Tip #14: Create and foster an environment that is fun and challenging. Creative people have tendencies toward being irreverent and like to have fun.

Innovation Tip #15: Break down individual isolation and create opportunities for people to bounce ideas off of each other. Encourage (or force if necessary), people out of their workstations and offices to meet in small groups to discuss challenges, issues, trends, opportunities and threats, etc.

Innovation Tip #16: Breakdown hierarchy and emphasize and reward creative and innovative ideas regardless of where they come from in your business.

Innovation Tip #17: Create an environment that will allow everyone to speak freely when working with his or her teams.

Innovation Tip #18: Aim for simplicity so that the innovative ideas are easy to understand, easy to explain to others and relatively easy to implement.

Innovation Tip #19: Focus on the action or the experience and use verbs rather than nouns (e.g. “teach people to think strategically” rather than “strategic thinking education”).

Innovation Tip #20: Adopt an attitude that you will view mistakes and failures as great learning opportunities and blessings in disguise.

Glenn Ebersole, Jr. is a multi-faceted professional, who is recognized as a visionary, guide and facilitator in the fields of business coaching, marketing, public relations, management, strategic planning and engineering. Glenn is the Founder and Chief Executive of two Lancaster, PA based consulting practices: The Renaissance Group, a creative marketing, public relations, strategic planning and business development consulting firm and J. G. Ebersole Associates, an independent professional engineering, marketing, and management consulting firm. He is a Certified Facilitator and serves as a business coach and a strategic planning facilitator and consultant to a diverse list of clients. Glenn is also the author of a monthly newsletter, “Glenn’s Guiding Lines – Thoughts From Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach” and has published more than 275 articles on business.

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