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Encourage Innovation throughout your Company

Innovations are important to many businesses.  Innovations often solve problems or improve an existing product or service.  Innovations can also improve internal business procedures.  Every individual, regardless of job function or training, is capable of identifying solutions – even if implementation or development of the solution is not their primary job function.

For example, company salespeople often receive feedback from customers and potential customers.  This feedback may include problems or missing features with existing products.  A salesperson must understand the importance of reporting that feedback to the company.  Additionally, the salesperson should be encouraged to communicate their own ideas or suggestions for solving a problem or improving products/services.

Educate All Personnel. Educating all personnel about the value of innovations to the company fosters a “team environment” and increases the likelihood of identifying important ideas and suggestions.  Also, encouraging different groups within the company to work together to create and implement new ideas strengthens the business. For example, if a customer service representative learns of a desired feature from a customer, that information is provided to the Product Development Group, which develops the new feature.  The Marketing Department then promotes this new feature to increase sales and provide increased value to existing customers.  Thus, several groups within the company can work together to leverage innovations.

Look Everywhere. Innovations are not limited to the products or services created by the company. Internal procedures, such as manufacturing processes, marketing procedures and sales techniques are subject to innovation.  An innovative idea in the company’s manufacturing process can save money, increase quality and improve efficiency.  Thus, it is important to teach personnel about innovation in all areas of the business.

Companies can encourage creative thinking by offering recognition and rewards to company innovators.  Brainstorming sessions, innovation contests, employee bonuses and related activities are important aspects of a successful Intellectual Property Strategy.

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