Creativity and innovation are critical for small business growth. It’s important to regularly incorporate fresh ideas to propel your business forward and remain competitive in your market. Cox BLUE shares helpful articles for startups and small businesses to stay up to date on industry trends and provides new ideas for running a successful business.
1. Create a team-based environment. It’s difficult to bounce ideas off each other when everyone is siloed in their offices with no time for collaboration or socialization. Consider creating a “water cooler” group on Teams or Slack for everyone to share their thoughts, even when working remote.
2. Host team brainstorms. Ahead of each new month, get together with your team to share thoughts on a business challenge or project and remember, no idea is a bad idea during a brainstorm, so make sure all involved know this is a safe space for the flow of ideas. In addition, during these meetings you can discuss what they’ve achieved last month, as well as what’s coming up next. Sharing work “wins” and goals as a group helps provide inspiration for others.
3. Encourage passion projects. When workloads get heavy, the first thing to get pushed to the backburner is time for reflection and creativity. Consider setting aside an hour every Friday for employees to exclusively work on a fun passion project.
4. Spark inspiration in the office. Allowing employees to spruce up their space with plants, photos and personalized décor will help create an inspiring workspace that encourages originality. It also gives a fun glimpse into their personality and hobbies.
5. Bring in an expert. Plan quarterly lunch & learns and bring in an expert to speak on various topics within your industry. For example, a workshop on how to use LinkedIn for networking or how to build confidence when presenting.
6.Emphasize team building. At Cox, we foster teamwork through activities outside the office, such as taking a group of employees to volunteer in the community for an afternoon. You might see our blue “Cox volunteers” shirts at the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona or cleaning up a Tucson city park.
7. Offer a change in scenery. Sometimes, the greatest ideas are sparked when working at a coffee shop, or even on the couch! Many companies have seen benefits from allowing greater freedom around where employees can work from.
8. Break routines. Help your employees recharge by encouraging them to learn something new in their field or shadow another employee with a different job.
9. Support creative risk-taking. Sometimes employees hinder their creativity out of fear of not having their ideas supported. Create a safe environment for ideas and feedback. Cox practices this by fostering a culture that puts our people first and welcoming feedback through surveys and during leader meetings.
10. Create a monthly contest. To encourage out-of-the-box thinking, host a monthly contest where employees can submit their ideas and vote on their favorites. The more you encourage and support creative thinking at your company, the more it becomes an essential part of your company culture.
Lisa Lovallo is the Southern Arizona market vice president for Cox Communications, leading a team of 260+ Southern Arizona Cox employees, who contribute more than $692 million in total economic impact in Southern Arizona each year. Prior to joining the Cox Southern Arizona team, Lovallo ran a family business based in Tucson and is a graduate of the University of Arizona. Reach her at email@example.com.