‘Innovation’ is a word now deemed essential in any profile detailing a company’s ethos or core values. According to LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, however, if you want to run a successful business you should focus on encouraging your team to come up with for original concepts. In a recent podcast Hoffman said:
“Let your employees pursue wild ideas that may raise your eyebrows. It’s not for you to judge whether their ideas are good or bad. It’s for your employees to prove it through freewheeling experimentation.”
Brittain’s Managing Director Julia Haviland agrees. “Most truly innovative ideas are the result of collective exploration. Certain innovations may be credited to an individual, but the reality is that it is almost always a team effort. Creating an environment that welcomes bold and creative thinking is more productive and, ultimately, more profitable than appointing yourself as your business’s sole visionary. Embolden your team to present out-of-the-box ideas and be prepared to consider even those that don’t appeal to you,” she advised, with the history of AdSense ringing in her ears, an idea which Schmidt supported despite not liking it when first proposed by Google engineers. Trusting his judgement in his own system, AdSense now generates an annual profit of tens of billions of dollars.
The advice is backed up by Zynga founder Mark Pincus, who was quoted recently as saying: “If you’re a good entrepreneur, you can assume your instinct is right 95% of the time, and your ideas might be right 25% of the time.”
Agreeing that allowing people to challenge without fear boosts innovation, Julia added: “Creating a climate where you are open to suggestion also broadens perspective and enables timely recovery in the wake of decisions or processes that might otherwise take a wrong turn.”
For more advice from Julia and the Brittain team, please contact us for a consultation today.