Innovation That Matters

Top 10 Ideas from the Innovation Culture Bulletin

Work & Lifestyle

We present the top 10 learnings from our Innovation Culture Bulletin, which help employees feel productive, motivated and ready to innovate.

Our popular monthly feature, the Innovation Culture Bulletin, helps businesses explore ways to foster a positive culture of innovation within their organization and ensure employees feel empowered. Here we share the top 10 learnings from these features, to help employees feel productive, motivated and ready to innovate.

1 Encourage collaboration between non-obvious departments.

Studies have demonstrated that the best ideas often arise out of casual moments of contact between different sectors within the same company. The reasons for which are obvious: an objective observer would no doubt have a fresher, more distinct perspective on a situation than those who have been buried in it for some time. Try asking for suggestions from someone you wouldn’t usually.

2 Enable flexibility.

A lot of us are early risers who get the most work done in the morning, but there are those who find the quiet office at night ideal for focusing on a difficult task. Try to set up your office to accommodate for these differences where possible, to ensure everyone is working when they’re at their most productive. In a similar manner, introducing a flexible insurance policy where supplementary and voluntary benefits are on offer can make employees feel protected, while in control of their finances. This fosters stronger job satisfaction, resulting in better workforce wellbeing.

3 No laptop/mobile/tablet meetings.

Students who take notes by hand proved to have better understanding of a class — writing down words required the processing of information, which, unlike transcribing, improved long term memory. Of course, the advantage of typing up notes during a meeting is that it saves time typing them up later. By designating one person to take minutes, using something like the Springwise-featured Mod Notebook (a physical book that syncs to the cloud), you’ll immediately free up everyone else’s hands for writing down any other ideas.

4 Overlapping lunch times.

The Springwise-featured Humanyze (which some called the Moneyball of offices) tracked employee behavior and produced data showing that software developers who ate lunch together wrote 10 percent more code than those who dined solo. Sales representatives with more relationships across a company also sold more. The learning is simple — communication is good, so try to increase the opportunities for talk without impacting the amount of time left for doing. Perhaps implement overlapping lunches once or twice a week, or entice employees into break areas with afternoon pick-me-ups.

5 Try to incorporate indirect light that mimics daylight.

In schools, exposure to natural light was shown to improve test scores and absenteeism. But in cases where sourcing natural light is not possible, switching to lights that are indirect and ambient, which can create a daylight-esque brightness that doesn’t strain your eyes, can make a difference. The Springwise-featured Lucy could help you too — it’s a smart mirror that uses robotics to follow the sun and direct sunlight into the room. There is also Coelux’s fake window, which will simulate sunlight from around the world with nanoparticle technology.

6 Deactivated emails during holidays.

There is nothing worse than coming back from holiday and facing a mountain of unanswered emails. German automobile company Daimler now gives employees the option to disable their email accounts when they’re on holiday—senders are told that their email will be deleted, and asked to resend when the person returns. If you’re using Outlook, follow this simple guide to stop your account from receiving mail. An easier option is to add a note on your automated OOO, to say that emails sent during this time will be ignored.

7 Making the most of everyone’s siesta.

Many companies are beginning to implement office nap rooms. But instead of falling into a deep slumber after a particularly tasty sandwich, you could try Thomas Jefferson’s approach — mull over the morning’s notes, tricky problems or an ideas board that has gone stale and drift off with these obstacles in mind.

8 Encourage an engagement with nature among staff.

An ideal solution is an away day, but if the team can’t all make it, the office could support employees in their outdoor ventures. Consider introducing a scheme where the company helps staff buy camping equipment, or welcome new colleagues into the office with a solar power charger, hiking boots, or high performance clothing.

9 Rethink groupthink.

Groupthink occurs when a collection of people conform and agree, fearing that to do otherwise may appear disruptive. It’s a mindset that can happen in team meetings, and can jeopardize the precipitation of good ideas. Conventional team meetings also can result in extrovert employees dominating (sometimes purely for the sake of filling the silence) while equally skilled introverts may feel uneasy voicing their ideas. Instead of devoting time to the meeetings where the whole group sits around a table, try facilitating more casual brainstorm sessions with fewer staff members — voices are often heard best in smaller groups. Take inspiration from the Springwise-featured Sacred Introvert Retreat Tours.

10 Encourage employees to develop their lives outside of work.

Though committing to extra curricular activities may seem counter-intuitive to productivity, the limitations they pose on your working schedule can actually have positive effects. Knowing that you have to attend a soccer game at lunchtime will push you to finish your tasks in a given time frame. Sitting down with one task for 45 minutes, instead of three hours, will no doubt encourage you to work in a more concentrated manner.