Innovation can be what defines a business and makes it unique. Innovation helps you grow your company, stand out from your competitors, and meet the ongoing needs of your customers. It also helps you attract high quality talent. But fostering innovation takes careful consideration, research, and planning. You may go to the drawing board several times to find the right approach to developing innovative products or procedures. But how do you know you’re headed in the right direction? This is where surveys come into the picture. A well-crafted survey can help your organization launch innovative enterprises and make sure they’re taking your company in the right direction.
Evaluating Your Employees— Innovation is not the realm of a select few within an organization. Innovation is everyone’s responsibility. Measuring that innovation is best done with a company-wide survey to assess where your team is on your innovation spectrum. Before you dive into the survey though, assess the company’s overall culture to see whether you are creating a creative environment. The word ‘creative’ is used here because creativity is attributed to the individual whereas innovation is applied to the company as a whole. It may be stating the obvious, but you need creativity for innovation. As a company head, you should ask yourself a series of questions to determine whether your employees work in a creative environment. Are your employees good at generating ideas? Can they dig deeper into their ideas by analyzing, evaluating, and understanding complexity. Do they have an openness to explore new ideas through curiosity, imagination, and intuition? If you’ve determined that your employees work in a culture of creativity, they’re in a position to take a company-wide innovation survey.
Building the Survey—Creating a survey can be a challenge! Luckily, MIT’s Sloan School of Management has taken the guesswork out of developing one and it is an excellent guide to use when developing your own. The survey measures values, behaviors, climate, resources, processes and successes of businesses. These six building blocks are then further divided into 18 factors and 54 elements that asses innovation. Geared toward employees, it asks whether leaders frequently challenge them to think and act entrepreneurially. It also poses questions about coaching and feedback opportunities, innovation efforts, and the company’s attitude toward success and failure. The answers are measured on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 = Not at all; 2 = To a small extent; 3 = To a moderate extent; 4 = To a great extent; 5 = To a very great extent.
Generating Innovation— Information gathered from these surveys will only accelerate growth. This data can direct your company to scale up, take on more customers, and hire employees at appropriate times. But perhaps most importantly, information from these surveys can be used to develop a culture of innovation at your organization. Innovation cannot thrive as a top-down initiative. Employees must feel comfortable and supported to make the intuitive leaps and creative connections that true innovation requires. Innovation surveys are an integral part of identifying the true culture of your organization so that you can develop your ideal scenario for growth and innovation. These surveys can also be used as a platform to share ideas and recommendations. They may have innovative ideas for rewarding staff for creativity or strategies to increase lateral problem-solving skills and internal communication. Survey questions about innovation can spur more and more ideas that can be used to create an environment where new products and processes will be developed.
Becoming an innovative company is about developing creativity and fostering an innovative culture. It’s about communication and support as well as strategic problem solving. Innovation might mean changing your business model to deliver better outcomes, designing more cost-effective business processes, or identifying creative marketing opportunities. Whatever your reasons, a survey can help you understand how to be more innovative and to get your team on board.
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