By Jami Miedema

Last month, Dean wrote about the Blue Ocean Strategy and how to apply the method to create new market space instead of competing for existing market share. The key is through innovation. Especially in today’s world, where information is abundant but fleeting, innovation is important to stay relevant. The economic rollercoaster we’ve been riding the past couple years has made it even more essential to focus on new and improved methodologies as opposed to old processes. At Whittaker Associates, we need to give our clients meaningful information from the here and now. As Dean discussed, our processes are radically different than they were even a few years ago. We had the technology that worked, but now we’re creating the technology that works better. This innovative nature of Whittaker Associates is part of our company’s culture. How can you create a culture that fosters creativity?

1. Provide your employees with time to think. Whether it’s an hour per week or one day per month, the ideas that may come from these think-sessions can create significant value for your company and your clients.

2. On the other hand, set aside time for your team to do collective brainstorming sessions together.

3. Tap into the minds of experts to gain an outsiders perspective on specific situations within the company, including issues, projects, processes, etc.

4. Pair up individuals from different departments of your company to create ideas that are feasible, affordable, and marketable.

5. Reward great ideas with recognition and possibly monetary prizes.

Maintaining a company culture that supports creativity and innovation is a useful way to engage employees and create ideas that are valuable to your company and your clients. Don’t wait for a catastrophe to happen to begin innovating. Stay ahead of the curve and the competition.

If you’re interested in reading about innovation success stories, two books you’ll want to pick up are Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Innovate the Pixar Way by Bill Capodagli.