Knowledge Management Institute

6 Techniques Knowledge Managers Should Know to Encourage Innovation in the Workplace

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6 Techniques Knowledge Managers Should Know to Encourage Innovation in the Workplace

May 24, 2021   |  By
KMI Guest Blogger, Doug Walker

In today's business world, innovation is key to success. Innovation is often thought of as a one-time event. But innovation should be fostered and encouraged throughout the year. One way to do this is by implementing new techniques for knowledge management. Knowledge managers have been tasked with the responsibility of providing their employees with timely information on various topics that are pertinent to their work environment. To encourage innovation, they can use these 6 techniques: 

1. Incorporate brainstorming into meetings

Create a collaborative environment where people are encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas with each other. Brainstorming sessions allow participants to come up with ideas without judgment from others. During brainstorming sessions, your team can solve problems by breaking them down into smaller, more manageable pieces. These can be done in person or via video conferencing.

Encourage people from every level in your organisation to speak up about what is working well and not so well within their work environment. This includes encouraging individuals who are not typically seen as leaders to participate in discussions during meetings.

Brainstorming sessions also allow people who might not typically speak up at meetings to feel more comfortable doing so because they know someone will listen and take note of their idea no matter how ‘out there’ it may seem at first.

2. Be a facilitator, not an evaluator

Establish goals and objectives with your team, holding them accountable for meeting those expectations. Guide employees to excel in your company’s objective and give them clear directions. Give feedback on their performance and progress towards these goals, instead of just giving criticism. Encourage new ideas by allowing employees to share their thoughts and concerns about meeting company objectives without fear of being judged in the moment.

Some knowledge managers believe that encouraging emotional intelligence is a way to encourage innovation in the workplace. It is essential for people to feel like they are having their thoughts and feelings validated, as well as being able to voice abstract ideas without fear of judgement or retaliation.

This will provide employees with new perspectives on problems they may not have even thought about before. Encouraging creativity through praise and recognition can also foster an environment where everyone feels like their contributions are valued, which helps propel innovation forward.

3. Invest in training for employees to learn and develop their existing skills

If you build on skills that your employees already know, they'll be more invested in the training and feel like it was a worthwhile investment of their time. Hold workshops periodically in various areas such as communication skills, customer service skills, value selling and more.

This is also a good way to train people who are new to an organisation or have transferred from another department because it will help them learn about how things work at your company without getting lost in too much jargon.

Innovation thrives when knowledge workers can share ideas with one another and collaborate efficiently across different departments within organisations. Knowledge management techniques such as these provide managers with tangible ways of fostering innovation by supporting collaboration among team members while providing tools for developing new approaches for day-to-day tasks.

4. Embrace failure — it's okay if some things don't work out as planned because you can always learn from them or try again later

Be a problem-solver. Create a culture that focuses on continuous improvement as opposed to doing something right once or having one-time success stories. Have whistleblowing systems in place to easily identify when things are going wrong.

This is the most important characteristic of an innovation-friendly manager. When employees come to you with problems or ideas for improvement, demonstrate that you're willing and able to provide assistance in solving these issues. Asking them questions about how they've already tried tackling their challenge will help give them confidence that you'll be receptive to their feedback. After all, it's vital not only to listen but also act on what we hear from others if we want our workplace culture to encourage new thinking and creativity.

5. Showcase the work of others in your company

Demonstrate to your employees the need for innovation by highlighting other people's work. For example, your company can start with developing an ‘Innovation of the Week’ series.

The Innovation of the Week can be a weekly feature for your company that highlights creative and innovative projects from within your organisation. The idea behind initiatives like these is that it helps each employee think about how they are adding value to their team or solving problems in new ways, as well as making them feel appreciated for their contributions.

Develop events that encourage knowledge sharing, such as holding monthly lunches where all employees can share what they've been working on so far. You can do quarterly presentations focused around one particular theme where everyone demonstrates what they know best.

6. Avoid the echo chamber — create a culture of dissent by encouraging people to challenge ideas

Encourage people to share their perspectives and insights. Create open forums where they're allowed, even encouraged, to challenge ideas and theories.

Encourage others to provide feedback on each other's work before it is finalised; this will help generate new ideas for the project or content at hand. You can incorporate members from other divisions in your company to get more perspectives.

Invite outside speakers who can offer different points of view from those that are currently represented by staff members within an organisation. If you seek out feedback from both inside and outside the organisation on how best to do things, this will give you a better idea of what is working in an area as well as what could be improved.

Encourage employees to take risks and explore new territories for ideas, products, or services. You can do this by allowing people time during the day to explore topics that interest them without any direct involvement in projects assigned by managers so that they may develop creative solutions.

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Doug Walker is an Online Marketing Expert that has built successful eCommerce businesses from the ground up, worked with enterprise-level organizations such as Dell, Intuit, Coldwater Creek, and FindLaw/Thomson Reuters, and consulted for small law firms and businesses. Over the past 13 years, Doug has taken a customized, proprietary approach to digital marketing and has written several articles to help maximize revenue and dominate online niches.

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