There is something really special about innovators, something that sets them apart from others. According to expert, what makes them special is that they are explorers and, if you want to use that passion to your advantage, you need to learn how to unlock it. Having innovation management software for businesses in place is only the start of that.
You must learn, first of all, to recognize who they are. A true explorer is the individual who loves change, and who will volunteer to make changes, believing that they will create something positive. You can recognize them, therefore, by finding the people who do that. But that is only half of the job. The second part is that you show them that you appreciate what they do.
A recent study completed at Harvard University by Professor Teresa Amabile showed just how important official recognition is. In fact, she says that innovative cultures are also cultures in which efforts are recognized. People love to be told they did well, be that in public or in private. And, when they are, innovation levels automatically increase as well. When people are recognized for their efforts, they are motivated intrinsically. Providing prizes or financial rewards only motivates extrinsically. Yet being intrinsically motivated is far more enduring.
How to Recognize Your Innovators
Once you have identified your innovators and explorers, you need to be ready to recognize them in a way that they appreciate. Some things to think about include:
- Having a platform available. You should have regular meetings where people can talk about what they have done and how they intend to innovate. Make it clear that the sessions are all about sharing, and about recognizing efforts.
- Peer to peer recognition should be encouraged across the board. An innovation award program works, but this is usually managed by a senior. Instead, you should get peers to recognize each other, which is far more appreciated in real life. Not just that, peer to peer recognition can happen at any moment, rather than once a year, at the office party.
- Make sure that you recognize people whenever they make an innovation. Don’t wait until you have a place in your diary that you have dedicated to celebrating innovation, but do it as and when things happen. This makes it look genuine and has the greatest impact.
Recognition is said to be part of what is called the “innovation formula”. There are many other elements involved in that formula, but this is one of the biggest ones. People will be keen to try innovation for the first time, but unless their efforts are rewarded in a way other than a prize here and there, they will quickly stop their efforts. Innovative employees are engaged employees, and engaged employees are more productive employees. These are the people that genuinely care about the organization and will therefore go the extra mile for the business as a whole as well. The cumulative effect of this is tremendous.