It has become widely accepted that creativity and innovation are crucial to business success, especially in the ever-changing and uncertain world we live in today. While creativity is the ability to produce new and unique ideas, innovation is the execution of those creative ideas.
When adequately fostered, creativity and innovation create inventive problem-solving for your business or your audience. Think of technological innovations! They solve day-to-day problems and make life more convenient for all.
The same rule applies to business innovations. Creative and innovative problem-solving can make your company run more efficiently. They can also make a name for your business and create a competitive edge all businesses strive to achieve.
The Importance of Creativity and Innovation in SMEs
Without creativity and innovation, companies would be stuck in a rut. They would utilize the same marketing/promotion campaigns, and business strategies, or maybe even sell uniform products and services. But once your business brain is able to think creatively, the possibilities are endless.
By being creative, your business is more likely to become innovative. And by being innovative, your business is more likely to offer something new, making you a step ahead of others in the industry. Encouraging business creativity pays internal dividends as well. Your company gets a variety of ideas for problem-solving and the staff become more engaged.
A UK study shows that employees are most productive when they are challenged by interesting work and allowed to implement their initiatives. Too many rules and procedures, on the other hand, stunt productivity. In other words, giving employees opportunities to innovate pushes business productivity and agility.
Empowering SME creativity and innovations sounds like a tall order, but innovation comes in many forms, not just cutting-edge technology and design. For many service-fed industries, this simply means meeting customer demands, going the extra mile, or approaching your market in a different way from competitors.
What could encourage creativity and innovation in an SME is healthy communication between peers and supervisors, paired with of course, understanding its importance. The feedback gained through discussions is what would generate the key pillars of a creative yet innovative idea. Therefore, it will end up becoming an ongoing process of learning and growing.
How Can You Implement Creativity and Innovation?
i. Through external means such as collaboration and networking
For SMEs looking to encourage innovation from within, the answer is to not limit yourself to your organization. Collaborating, sharing knowledge, and broadening your network fill your business with fresh ideas and help improve your business’ growth prospects. Of course, take care to keep internal data private, but exposing yourself and your staff to external connections adds to your repertoire of knowledge and ideas to explore. Outside connections can also provide objective feedback on your ideas.
ii. Through internal means such as undertaking challenges
Internally, you can push creativity and innovation by intellectually challenging yourself and your team. It’s important that your team is sufficiently challenged. Too little of a challenge will cause boredom, but too much will cause stress. This is why it’s important to find a healthy balance to help them sharpen their creative minds. This may include a shift in your day-to-day, to simply approaching work from a different perspective. In times like these, the more senior executives of the company play a significant role as they have the most experience.
It’s very clear that creativity and innovation are advantageous for your business. Innovation provides a culture of creative thinking that enables you and your team to think outside the box and come up with new and interesting ideas.
If you are interested to learn more about business development and management, read “4 Tips to Win More Clients for Your Small Business” and “4 Ways to Market Your Small Business on a Tight Budget”.
This article was written by Funding Societies, the first SME digital financing platform in Malaysia. We provide working capital financing for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); we also offer investment opportunities with returns of up to 14% per year. To learn more about us, click on our website here.
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