Good Thinking

Lonely burden of innovation wearing you down? Tap the entrepreneurial zeal in your employees, and they'll start pitching ideas faster than you can implement them.

We've reached another era in which everything--business, technology, science--is moving at light speed. For the past couple of years, innovative entrepreneurs got all the buzz. Now it's the entrepreneurial spirit that fuels the innovation everyone's after. It's what huge corporations call in consultants to get and what established small businesses need if they want to survive. And because it's pretty hard for one mind--even the great mind of an entrepreneur--to be on target all the time, many management experts suggest that higher-ups should lose the ego and give employees the opportunity to exercise their own creativity.

Now, empowering employees with the freedom to innovate sounds great in theory, but as many management consultants know, and as many large corporations have found out, adopting a new way of thinking--one that goes against the ingrained corporate hierarchy--is scary and not typically welcomed with open arms. It's only when a lucrative business idea or a more cost-effective way of operating emerges from a company's lower ranks that senior management wakes up and sees the potential in allowing employees to escape their hawk-like eye, sit in a basement office and create something unique.

For more ideas on motivating your employees to think creatively, read "Just a Suggestion" and "Generating Great Ideas from Employees."
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This article was originally published in the July 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Good Thinking.

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