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Innovation. We hear this word thrown around a lot. But what does it really mean?

Innovation is revolution. It’s upheaval. It’s not just changing the way we do things, but how we think about them. But innovation isn’t just about coming up with those new ideas – it’s about seeing them through to completion, seeing them realized.

There’s no downplaying the importance of innovation in this modern age. The world seems to be spinning faster with each passing year. An innovative mind and innovation-positive working environment are some of the most valuable assets that one can have in any profession or industry today.

So why does innovation seem so elusive for so many professionals and organizations? And how does one cultivate innovative thinking? Well, that’s what this article is for: to help those who want to innovate, to create an innovative environment, but haven’t quite gotten there. (Not that there’s anything wrong with trying something and failing, as you’ll see below!)

Without further ado, here are some tricks for cultivating innovation individually and in your workplace:

  1. Collaborate, even if it means butting heads.

Working together can be hard. Conflict may be inevitable. But conflict doesn’t have to be a negative thing! Conflict can serve as a valuable tool when it comes to innovation – it means you have a wide range of perspectives and personalities in your organization, and that’s a good thing. Yes, it can be challenging to manage diverse perspectives and ideas in large organizations, but innovation isn’t always going to be easy. With a diverse team of creative individuals who are able to share ideas effectively and efficiently, the potential for innovation is unlimited. In the end, organizations that foster great environments for collaboration despite – or because of – their diverse personnel are the organizations that find it easiest to innovate.

  1. Learn from your mistakes.

It may sound like a childhood cliché, but it’s important to remember that you don’t always have to get things right the first time. Take a look at some of the world’s leading innovators. Apple hasn’t always hit the nail on the head with their product launches. Not all of Elon Musk’s ideas were automatic successes. Innovation doesn’t mean constant perfection. Innovation is built on gradual development from trial-and-error experiments. Don’t be afraid to stumble a few times before uncovering the next big thing. The thing that matters most is that you don’t stop trying.

  1. Go beyond creativity.

When an idea stays just that – an idea – then nobody benefits from it, no matter how brilliant it may be. Innovation isn’t just about being creative or intelligent. Innovation doesn’t stop at conception. Innovation is about seeing things through to fruition. You can’t really call yourself a leader in innovation when you have no results to show for it. So push through to the end, finish the project, launch the product, and encourage your teammates to do the same. You’ll never know how far you can go if you don’t try.

  1. Go outside (literally).

How many times have you had your most brilliant idea or remembered something important while taking a shower or doing the dishes? For many of us, the answer is a lot. Often, the structures and systems that are in place to promote efficiency and productivity can also serve as shackles to an organization’s creativity. A lot of what drives innovation is inspiration, and it can be difficult for people to get inspired when they’re chained to their desks at work all day every day. So go for a walk! Encourage your co-workers to just go stand outdoors, even for a minute. It’s a literal interpretation of the whole “think outside of the box” mentality that true innovators really value, but it can make a huge difference.

  1. Knock down the walls between departments (not literally).

Just because you have a specific set of responsibilities that come with your job title doesn’t mean that you have to limit yourself to those areas. Just because someone’s not on your team doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be looped in if they have something of value – a skill or knowledge set – to add. Don’t be afraid to cross departmental lines to make sure that an innovative idea is fully realized or a project is successful. What matters most is making your work the best it can be. It all goes back to the concept of collaboration. Inter-departmental efforts aimed at actualizing a single idea are often what separates an innovative company from a mediocre one.

  1. Make innovation cultural.

Innovation isn’t necessarily something that you can pick up after reading a few articles online, learn in a book, or read in a pamphlet. Innovation within an organization comes organically.  It should be ingrained in a company’s culture, encouraged and facilitated, and it should manifest itself in free and open portals for collaboration and communication. Employees should be made to feel like they are all granted equal opportunities for expressing their ideas. They should be encouraged to work on their individual or shared ideas in whatever capacity they can. An innovation-positive company fosters the kind of environment that allows for the seamless exchange of ideas across branches, departments, or hierarchies. You can’t demand innovation from your team if you don’t give them the tools and freedom to operate.

  1. Give innovation a home.

And on that note, it always helps to be using the right tools to help you stay on track. Innovation needs a place to grow and your people need a place to keep their ideas and work together, With an app like Zillable that encourages free and open creative thinking, innovation is going to feel like second nature. Zillable brings all your important information and apps onto one platform. With an entire work suite of productivity apps, featuring chat, notes, tasks, boards, document collaboration and more, you’ll never again have to switch between apps and tabs looking for the content you need now. Check out the Zillable collaboration and innovation platform and get started on your next big idea now!

And those are the seven tips you need to know right now to start making your personal habits and organizational culture more conducive to innovation.

Don’t go making the same mistakes that everyone else is making in the pursuit of genuine innovation: remember that all valuable things require time and effort. They need to be done the right way. Keep these proven innovation tricks in mind and stay ahead of the pack!

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Zillable is an AI-assisted suite of native collaboration tools to deliver full-circle business process automation. With Zillable, teams of all sizes can instantly coordinate teamwork and automate processes with easy, drag-and-drop Readymade and customizable workflows, boosting efficiency and productivity. Sign up for free at https://www.zillable.com
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