Most companies strive to be creative. For good reason too – if one looks at some of the most successful businesses in the United States, they generally lead their industry due to their various innovations. Take a look at Google, for instance. The Internet company has come out with numerous successful products and services, ranging from the Android operating system to the basic Web search browser, and as a result, everyone wants to work for the firm.
In fact, one report from Forrester Consulting found that creativity in the workplace can be tied to exceptional revenue growth, greater market share, competitive leadership and an influx of people with high-value talent looking to work for the brand in question. Yet at the same time, 61 percent of respondents said they do not see their companies as being creative and only 11 percent thought their practices were perfectly aligned with competitors they view as innovative.
Obstacles to innovation
So, what is the hold-up? There is no easy answer to that question. Depending on the company, there are any number of reasons why ground-breaking ideas and cutting-edge projects may become stagnant – perhaps it just does not have the funding or it is not in a safe position to gamble on innovative propositions.
However, there is one common cause of the lack of innovation that businesses can change, and that is leadership support. Sometimes project leaders and other senior-level employees will have great, creative ideas and present them to higher-up executives for approval. However, these executives then put the kibosh on these ideas for one reason or another and they are lost forever.
This can be a powerless feeling for individuals, who often want to make meaningful change in the workplace and have a great mind to see these concepts through to completion, but they just do not have the influence needed to get others onboard. This may even have a negative impact on their career, as they may even become unmotivated or disillusioned with the company because management will not support their ideas.
Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon occurrence. The Forrester Consulting report noted leadership support as one of the key factors for becoming a creative and innovative business. Yet at the same time, it is not difficult to see why there may be resistance from management – there are a finite number of resources in any company, and using them suboptimally can put the organization in a real hole. This promotes conservative advancement instead of innovative and creative approaches to challenges businesses may face.
Building buy-in and influence
At the same time, it is important to realize that relationship-building is pivotal to getting creative and innovative ideas passed in the workplace. Learning how to gain buy-in with particular people and influencing business decisions are skills that can be taught and learned, and with these talents, leaders may be able achieve greater success in seeing their creative ideas gain traction.