Google has pink flamingos and inflatable dinosaurs. Pixar has beach huts. Start-ups all over the world have “chill-out” lounges and ping-pong tables.
Such perks are the marks of creative company cultures. However, you don’t necessarily need a beach hut or a comfy sofa to create an environment that fosters innovation.
Innovation happens when an organization supports experimentation and accepts failure as a part of life.
When people are afraid to try new things, no breakthroughs will happen. People won’t dare to develop or test ideas for fear of the consequences of failure.
New ideas require an environment where failure – and thus learning – is an acceptable step on the road to innovation.
Innovation too requires the right kind of team. Specifically, collaboration in diverse, interdisciplinary smart teams helps to unlock an organization’s creative powers.
Any project requires input from as many people as possible, including designers, engineers, marketing managers and so on. Bringing all these people together at the beginning as part of your smart team allows you to capitalize on interdisciplinary thinking.
Indeed, designers will offer different ideas, perspectives and insights than accountants or software engineers will, but their ideas are no less viable or relevant. It’s important to incorporate these ideas as soon as possible for the sake of expedience.
Smart teams will need space to work, and companies should provide a designated space for doing so. The internet as well offers tons of possibilities for teams to work together and innovate.
One such online platform is Innocentive, where any research & development team can post a challenge, to which thousands of scientists, designers and engineers can contribute solutions.
In a physical office, however, companies should simply designate a physical space in which people from different departments can come together – away from their own private desks – to get the creative juices flowing.