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Six ways to make your business more innovative

Consider how your business can benefit from boosting innovation, whether relating to culture, people, vehicles or technology

Innovation is vital for business. It keeps companies at the forefront of new developments, enabling them to exploit new markets much faster and stay ahead of their competition. Innovation also creates opportunities for greater efficiency, cost reduction and a more engaged and productive workforce. Here are six ways to create a more innovative business.

1 Create a culture of innovation

The first step in making a business more innovative is to establish a culture where all ideas – the good, the bad and the ridiculous – are encouraged, valued and considered. Without fear of rejection, employees are more likely to develop the can-do attitude that is the catalyst for innovation.

To create such a culture, companies need to open lines of communication between management and employees, and one way of doing this is to hold company-wide brainstorming sessions and other ideation events, not forgetting to provide people with an easy way of submitting their ideas, perhaps digitally, through an online suggestion box.

2 Recruit innovative people

If a business is to innovate, it needs innovative people. When hiring new staff to bring an element of creativity to the team, look for candidates who see things differently and will bring a fresh perspective to the business.

Young creatives (man and woman) look off into distance
Creative talent: are you hiring the right staff to drive innovation? CREDIT: GETTY

During interviews, look for evidence of diversity and any unusual aspects of their education, leisure activities and outside interests. Research has shown that a diverse workforce helps businesses become more innovative and more successful.

3 Embrace innovative business technology

New technology presents huge innovative opportunities for businesses that engage with it. Embracing technology can be as simple as creating an online store, moving paper-based systems to the cloud or implementing new payment methods – small changes that will reduce costs, improve efficiencies and drive further innovation within the organisation.

4 Take innovation to the road

Innovative technology has already enhanced the way that businesses operate fleets and company cars. Telematics technology enables companies to monitor the progress of their drivers, ensuring they make the most of their time on the road and drive as safely as possible, while the latest route planning software systems monitor traffic in real time and will recalculate routes to avoid delays, a sound investment for those running busy fleets.

5 Innovate to improve supply-chain operations

Greater supply-chain efficiencies can also be achieved through technological innovation, including the internet of things, the expanding network of digitally connected devices.

As more devices are connected, more data becomes available, and supply chains can tap into this to become more efficient, with shipper and recipient having more accurate information on dispatch and delivery schedules.

6 Bring in innovation from the outside

Business innovation does not always have to be driven from inside the company. Collaborating externally with other innovative businesses is a good way of bringing fresh ideas into the mix and speeding up the innovation process.

By outsourcing some of their developmental processes, businesses may be able to complete projects and achieve objectives much more quickly than everything was developed in house.

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