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In any venture, strive to employ creative people. Creativity is a function involving knowledge, curiosity, imagination and evaluation. It is an individual trait, and an essential job specification.
To develop an innovative culture, HR needs to make sure that all employees are creative, and clearly communicate that innovation is a job requirement. Innovation should be woven into the fabric of the business, and given a top place in job descriptions and in performance management. Innovation is based on knowledge. Therefore, you need to continually motivate your employees to expand their knowledge base.
Management must provide a creative environment to make innovation a practice. In a creative environment, there is freedom from criticism; employees can experiment and take risks without fear of humiliation. Ideas are constantly shared so that each employee can see unusual and powerful new combinations. All ideas are encouraged and used in the work process. Creativity, at the basic level, is an attribute that enables people to develop technical knowhow. It is a process that generates concepts and ideas. Innovation is the process of selecting, combining, refining and turning the best creative ideas into reality. Both are important for organizations to be competitive.
There are incremental as well as revolutionary improvements in innovation. A Toyota spokesperson once said, ''There is no genius in our company. We just do whatever we believe is right, trying every day to improve every little bit and piece. But when 70 years of very small improvements accumulate, they become a revolution.'' Over a 35-year period, Toyota's innovation culture increased the number of annual suggestions per employee 480-fold – from 0.1 to 48.
To develop a culture of innovation, follow a few best practices such as respect for employees, encouraging the proper expression of dissatisfaction, creating a fearless atmosphere, viewing failure as part of learning, enabling technology and encouraging innovators with rewards.
• HR must clearly communicate innovation is a requirement
• Creativity is an individual trait and an essential qualification
• All ideas must be encouraged and used in the work process
Source: Dr. Pon Mohaideen Pitchai, Special to Jobs & Careers
The writer is a Dubai-based HR and Management Consultant