One of the biggest challenges for leaders is in treating their most innovative employees fairly in relation with the rest of their staff. Innovative thinking can be highly profitable, but it can also seem scattered or disorganized to an outside observer. Of course, we want to celebrate innovative thinking, but how can we highlight this thinking and keep everyone else happy?
Characteristics of Innovative Employees
Highly inventive and innovative employees can often be considered neurodiverse; that is, they are thinkers in our population who didn’t learn in the same way as the majority, so they offer a new perspective on how highly complicated things work. More importantly, these individuals can explain how highly complicated things break, get repaired, and work again.
Celebrating innovation, therefore, needs to be a flexible process to keep inventive thinkers excited about diverse thinking. Stay flexible when ordering awards and plaques. Be aware that some creatives need wall space to create and expand on their ideas, so a set of desktop patent awards would be ideal.
Other creative thinkers need to build in three dimensions. In this case, your custom patent awards could include a patent wall or a series of patent plaques to celebrate innovation while staying out of the way.
While it’s wonderful to have employees that produce big ideas, don’t forget that your business also needs big implementation people, or the ideas go nowhere. While patent recognition is critically important, all your staff contribute to an environment where the most creative thinkers can function successfully.
To make sure that all your employees are included in the success loop, consider investing in a patent wall of fame that is the first thing your visitors see. For example, investing in double sided patent displays promote the innovation of your team to everyone who enters the building. These clever display walls can also screen workspaces that may look a bit chaotic from the public eye.
When investing in patent award frames and display features, make sure you leave room for expansion! A clever display option is the rail system. The patent is framed and can slide on rails so the display can be easily changed when a new patent display is ready to be added.
These systems are wall mounted and easy to modify. The display can go up or out as you prefer as long as you have space, so keep innovating!
There are many ways to promote innovative thinking and to reward patent recipients. Motorola offers cash bonuses to employee inventors, one when the patent is submitted and another when it is awarded.
Celebrating these examples of employee innovation and highlighting the time and effort required for the initial filing encourages other innovative thinkers on your team.
Encourage Everyone to Be An Inventor
An inventor is someone who sees a problem and comes up with a new solution. Not all inventive thinking will qualify for a patent, but creative problem solving can help your bottom line if it saves time or reduces the steps in a process.
Innovation Can’t Be Forced
When trying to encourage innovation, it’s important to remember to promote solitude and quiet. The ability of your employees to step back from a series of disruptive problems and let their ideas percolate is a great way to increase their problem-solving skills.
Additionally, encourage your employees to engage in mobile breaks; that is, to get up and move around. Walking is physical exercise, but it’s also a habit that we learned early and have relied on over time. By putting the problem you need to solve into your brain and letting it percolate while you engage in an habitual behavior, you can increase your inventive powers. Ever had an “aha” moment in the shower? Showering is a habit that takes no thought, so your brain can kick out good ideas with ease.
Inflexibility leads to stagnation. Is it important to follow the rules? Absolutely. Is it also important to review the rules? Also true! Once a process becomes rote, it’s time to think about it differently, adjust the process and come up with a better result using less resources.
Your innovators can help your business move forward. Expanding your capabilities will strengthen your organization and improve your bottom line, so be sure to celebrate both your innovative employees and those who support them!