“To be innovative,” Psychology Professor Dr. Marshaley J. Baquiano of Georgetown University explains, “is seeing things from new angles, having broad perspectives, taking risks, and being flexible.” Innovation can manifest as an improved product, an untapped market, or a simple fix to a nagging problem.
Innovation is important to any business, but particularly to one like ours which is literally fuelled on technology and out-of-the-box thinking. To maintain velocity in a time like now, it is therefore essential that everyone is given the opportunity to voice their opinions and ideas, particularly now when creativity is essential to shaping new ways of working. When employees speak up, they help the others see things from new angles and perspectives, and in turn, help the group find novel solutions.
The challenge for leaders, is to empower staff and partners with the tools to speak up and share ideas, to question decisions, and challenge questionable behaviours with confidence, while still adhering to the Kyocera philosophy that if “we want to realise an ambitious dream, we must ask ourselves, "Are our motives virtuous?"
While a diversity of perspectives is desirable, the challenge lies in getting the “quiet voices” in an organisation to pipe up.
Research by NLI suggests that to create a culture of speaking up you should:
By starting from a position of ‘positive intent’ you can create an environment where people feel safe and that their ideas will be welcome and valued.
Quieter team members may prefer to share their ideas in writing over speaking up in a group environment. Create shared platforms, such as in Google Docs where people can add their ideas or send out an anonymous survey for more sensitive matters.
People are more inclined to speak up if they feel that they are part of an inclusive culture. A culture where people feel safe to share ideas is particularly important in the current environment where so many people are working in isolation and from home. By sharing ideas we not only increase inclusivity but could potentially come up with some exciting and positive ideas.