Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, currently in the country on a speaking tour, has offered up 12 tips to building an innovative workforce.
Admittedly, some of Woz’s tips are likely beyond the scope of small businesses, but there’s nonetheless interesting food for thought here for SME owners. The list, originally published at news.com.au, is below:
1. Commitment to the pursuit of excellence. Have a mantra in your company such as, “how will we be the most innovative company in our field and spearhead a revolution?”
2. Although a healthy revenue stream is very important, it’s always important to invest in research and development.
3. Seek out unusual creative and innovative people who don’t necessarily have a business degree. Look for somebody who thinks outside the box but can also bring their ideas down to something that is economically viable and which answers the question – what do people need?
4. Inventors don't like bureaucracy. Create a division that is completely free from red tape and forms so these people can be creative.
5. Personal rewards for people will help to cultivate innovation. These don’t need to be monetary rewards – but rewards such as praise or a couple of tickets their favourite band can motivate inventors.
6. Organising events that bring employees from every area of the business together will allow every employee know how the business works.
7. The person in charge of a project needs to know how every part of that project works - such as marketing, sales and IT, etc. Steve Jobs was that person in Apple who knew every facet of the business.
8. Treat your company like your family. When recession hit in the US, Hewlett Packard gave everybody a 10 per cent pay cut and a nine-day working fortnight rather than cut 10 per cent of their workforce.
9. Allow time in the schedule for innovators to think up new ideas.
10. Ask your employees: Are you doing better at what you're doing than any other person could do? Seek quality and excellence.
11. Human beauty is very important and this is a type of innovation in itself. If your product is special, it better look special.
12. Recognise that doing something for the very first time is difficult. Once it’s been done once, it can look easy. But you have to remember that the first time breaking through that barrier is extremely difficult and should not be underestimated.
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