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Four Ways to Foster Innovation and Creativity in Your Business

Provided by the International Finance Corporation


With the sophistication of customers’ expectations, the globalization of their choices, the increased competition and the fragile situations that can disrupt markets at any moment, innovation and creativity are critical for your company’s growth and competitiveness. How do you create a business environment that fosters innovation and creativity? 

Be supportive by allowing time to test and try and rewarding initiative and risk-taking

Focus processes and celebrations around what you value most.  For high innovation and creativity, review processes to allow for experimentation and mistakes and generously allow for the openness to share risks, ideas, successes and failures.  Employees need to feel safe enough to take risks, and know that they won't be judged for thinking outside the box or trying new things. You may even encourage your key people to spend some of their time exploring new ideas as part of their job description.

Encourage brainstorming and questioning techniques

Encourage employees to ask questions to challenge themselves and others to go deeper and stretch further. Develop a culture where employees seek diverse viewpoints, defer judgment, and stay open and curious by leveraging brainstorming and other questioning techniques.

Break silos by thinking flat and diverse

A flat and diverse team means assembling people from different backgrounds, levels of hierarchy, varying strengths and weaknesses, viewpoints, skills and life experience. It can also mean a short term assignment in another job or networking and working group engagements.

Building agile, diverse teams, whereby people who do not usually collaborate join forces often helps to spark creative ideas, points out the Harvard Business Review. Likewise, for 85% of the enterprises surveyed by Forbes, diversity results in the most innovative ideas.

Grow your people and knowledge base

Helping your employees develop and increase the knowledge base of the company could contribute to helping them to create, innovate, and envision alternative solutions. Networking, mentoring, formal and information training, and experiential learning may challenge your employees’ thinking and add ideas as they connect what they learn to creatively solve problems and innovate.

For more resources

For more information about the studies quoted in this article

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The material in this work is copyrighted. Copying and/or transmitting portions or all of this work without permission may be a violation of applicable law.  IFC does not guarantee the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the content included in this work, or for the conclusions or judgments described herein, and accepts no responsibility or  liability for any omissions or errors (including, without limitation, typographical errors and technical errors) in the content whatsoever or for reliance thereon.

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