Making Room

Which companies are more innovative—big ones or small ones? Chances are you think that small companies are more innovative because they aren’t shackled by elaborate corporate policies and hierarchical bureaucracies.

Although small companies certainly CAN be more innovative, data from a 2015 Robert Half Management Resources study found that they typically aren’t. Only 30% of companies with 20 to 49 employees rated their employees as “very innovative.”

Workload might play a key role, but probably not in the way you’re thinking. A busy schedule can be a catalyst for figuring out new ways to do things or creative approaches to beat the competition, but overworked employees who are struggling to complete everything on their plates more often hit a brick wall when it comes to creative thinking.

Here are some things you can do to make room for innovation in 2018:

  • Create an area where employees can get away from the to-do lists on their desks and get their creative juices flowing by brainstorming with colleagues. If space is an issue, encourage employees to use the lunchroom during off hours, or give them free reign to go outside or visit a local coffee shop.
  • Give your team a reason to use the creative space by regularly asking them for their ideas, then make room in your day to celebrate their contributions!
  • Step away from the daily grind by encouraging creative thinking at random times during the week. Some people think better in the morning, while others hit their stride in the afternoon. Make sure everyone on your team has an opportunity to shine! Bring in snacks, mix people from different departments, and give them the freedom to work on any problem they’ve identified.

Even if it’s only for a short time, an opportunity to set aside day-to-day work can enable your team to uncover new and innovative ways to differentiate your company.