How to Foster Innovation in Your Business Team

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Written By Charlotte Miller

If you’ve completed an online MBA and established your own business, you’ll want to know how to get the best results out of your team. Most importantly? You’ll want your business team to be innovative, to experiment and take risks, and above all, not be afraid to fail. After all, some of the world’s most impressive innovations have been the product of risk-taking and experimentation.

Here’s how to foster a culture of innovation, flexibility, and continual learning and development within your business.

Innovation: It’s All in the Culture

Creating a company culture that centers on innovation is critical. But how do you do this?

First, encourage continual learning and development. Provide your team with training opportunities to help them maximize their innovation skills. Talks by inspiring motivational speakers will help your team members level up in this aspect by pushing them to seek the best results –  for themselves, and the company.

Next, applaud creativity. Commend your workers for thinking outside the box and embracing innovation. An example of a workplace that embraces innovation is Google. The search engine giant encourages employees to take risks and work above their KPIs. Their company-wide concept of 20% time promotes the dedication of 20% of working hours to side projects outside of the employee’s standard workload. This innovative concept has even led to the development of now-important apps such as Google Maps and Gmail.

Risk-Taking: Cultivating an ‘It’s OK to Fail’ Mentality

If we want to innovate, streamline, and come up with new, better ways to do things, we need to take risks. True – taking a risk does not always reap rewards. But ultimately, you’ll never know until you try. Replacing a ‘what if’ mentality with a ‘why not’ perspective is central to this mindset.

Teach your employees that if things stay the same, they stagnate. Conversely, if we take risks, we can create new opportunities, which can help us develop more effective processes.

 Of course, being disruptive as an innovator takes guts. But as with the first man to step on the moon, someone needs to be first to take the leap – why not you? Case in point: before our cavemen ancestors discovered fire, they were eating raw meat. It was only through risk, and a happy accident, that we learned the art of cooking. In this sense, innovation, learning, and continual development are integral to the human experience. Without them, we cannot progress.

Promoting Flexibility: Being Able to Adapt to Change

A key to being a great innovator is having flexibility. Being adaptable to change, and moving with the times, is what makes us innovative. Presented with a challenge? Unlike a conservative stick-in-the-mud, an innovator comes up with new, better ways to confront any roadblocks that arise.

For this reason, innovative thinking is the way of the future. Without inventive, innovative minds propelling us forward, we could still be stuck in the dark ages. Consider the women’s rights movement: one could argue that if women today were still stuck performing hours of manual labor in the form of hand-washing laundry, doing dishes, and utilizing archaic cooking appliances, the movement may have taken even longer to happen.

Empowering Your Employees: Encouragement and Support

Finally, if you want to get the most innovative results out of your business team, you need to empower them with encouragement and support.

For some, encouragement looks like validation through company awards and presentations. For others, a more personal or private approach may be required. Whatever the case, ensure that members of your business team feel both supported and empowered by the fact you believe in their abilities to make sound, business-minded decisions.


Fostering innovation in your business team is a multifaceted process.

As a business owner, you must take active steps to create a company culture that embraces innovation and encourages employees to take risks. To facilitate this, team members must be empowered and supported – both in their learning and development and by being commended for their hard work.

Experimental, innovative thinking requires companies to reassure employees that it’s ok to take risks. After all, there’s no such thing as innovation without experimentation, and teaching your team that it’s fine to fail is key to unleashing their innovative minds.