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How to Encourage Innovation at Work Here are five ways to encourage innovation in your workplace.

By Rakesh Verma

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Modern Workplaces, The Executive Centre

Innovation and out-of-the-box thinking at workplace can be a game-changer for an entrepreneur. It gives you the freedom to be unique and come up with solutions, and even products and services that are truly different.

It can also help the company become more productive and, consequently, more profitable. Here are five ways to encourage innovation in your workplace:

Stakeholders, not employees

Charity begins at home. In the same context, entrepreneurship becomes truly meaningful when it encourages intrapreneurship among the employees.

While professionals in every company are expected to make decisions, what plays an important role is the feeling of ownership that they get, without cumbersome bureaucracy holding them down.

Cutting through the red-tape

I was recently listening to a speaker at a business summit, and he spoke about how India is not a fragile country, simply because things aren't centralized here. We need to do the same thing within an organization. The only problem with India, he added, was the inheritance of bureaucracy from the British. Yes, compliance and processes are important, but not at the cost of freedom of thought.

Providing the tools

Most great ideas that have made a company truly big are those that come from the employees. MapmyIndia is not a single-product company and I'd be lying if I said all the products were conceived by me. What an entrepreneur does is empower his employees with resources and time. Of course, it is you who has to ensure that the product-market fit is there, and you can guide the team in that aspect.

Beyond end-products and services

Innovation at workplace isn't limited to just what can be sold. People in operations, HR, marketing, admin, and other departments should be encouraged to innovate and come up with a better, easier and more-cost effective way to do things, or to do it better.

Method to the madness

Encouraging innovation is done in two ways – let ideas take their own course and help your people sharpen them, as well as in a regular, organized manner. Having said that, a lot of ideas get killed as well, since one feels they won't work. Communicate that, too, so that each idea approved is appreciated and those that are shot down become lessons on what works and what doesn't.

Rakesh Verma

Founder, MapmyIndia

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