Foster a culture of innovation to give your Hong Kong business a competitive edge. With roughly 330,000 small- and medium-sized businesses inhabiting the bustling metropolis, getting your team to channel their creativity is key in helping your company stand out. Here are five simple ways small business leaders can help their team members make innovation part of their job description.
1. Hold Creative Brainstorming Sessions
A weekly or monthly meeting dedicated to generating new ideas can get everyone in the workplace exercising their creativity. This can be geared toward a particular project or goal, or it could be an open-ended meeting. Instead of leading the discussion, let workers have the floor for most of the session. This gives all employees a chance to share their ideas. If each team member has to come up with at least three to five ideas, it generates even more creative thinking.
A sizable portion of ideas that come up may not be actionable. But leaders should still seriously consider each one. Team members are more likely to share ideas in the future if they’re regularly taken seriously. When wrapping up the meeting, members could vote on which ideas to implement and create an action plan to get things rolling. Looking for a bigger way to generate ideas? You can always hold a hackathon. This day-long break from regular work activities gives workers a chance to really let their creative juices flow.
2. Take the How Out of Project Expectations
Your team has the potential to transform your business, but only if you let team members spread their wings. When assigning tasks, small business leaders can boost creativity by focusing on what, not the how, or results, not processes. As long as your team has clear direction and a solid objective, you can opt for a hands-off management approach. Your team can then, within the scope of your business’ core values, come up with creative solutions. This can lead to new processes that save time or cost less, or result in a better end product. For example, if the goal is to market a new service to the Hong Kong public, the team can implement unique promotion ideas and choose the advertising channels to use. Ready to give your team the freedom to develop and create? Provide workers the tools they need to succeed. One way to do this is to give them access to business apps that allow them to create mind maps. This way they can lay out possible ad ideas and strategies in a way that helps them visualize the whole process.
3. Foster a Culture That Accepts Failure
Failure is part of the creative process, so if you want your team to override the status quo and innovate, consider switching up your view of failure. Remind your team and individual workers that it’s okay to make mistakes. But that doesn’t mean you have to ignore them. When team members fail, acknowledge the situation, ask why it happened and how they plan to fix it, and celebrate them for trying something new. On the same note, you can nurture a culture that rewards risk-taking, which is a core element of innovation. One idea is to start a Top Risk-Taker Award that’s announced on a monthly basis.
4. Nudge Workers Toward Creativity-Boosting Activities
To infuse your business with creativity, innovation needs to permeate every area of your company. Here are some ways you can help team members exercise their creative muscles across the board.
- Have team members work in different areas of the building.
- Let employees complete work from home once in a while.
- Provide an idea box for workers to regularly submit their creative solutions.
- Form diverse teams to generate new ideas.
- Create brainstorming corners where small groups of employees can innovate.
- Place whiteboards throughout the office for jotting down ideas.
5. Look Outward for Creativity in Business
Hong Kong is a diverse, high-density metropolitan region that provides ample opportunity for creative inspiration. Despite a lack of government funding toward creative industries and technological innovation, small business leaders and their teams have a lot to gain from their home market. Consider taking your team to attend major Hong Kong fairs and expos to generate synergy with other businesses in your industry. If you have the resources, you can even make this a paid work day. Marketing Pulse, DesignInspire, and the Hong Kong Electronics Fair are just a few examples. Another worthwhile event is SmartBiz Expo, which explores how Hong Kong businesses can improve and develop through creativity.
If you’re willing to venture a little further, think mainland China. You and your team can travel to relevant expos and events, where you can network with other companies in a major neighbouring region. The insights your team gains can widen your perspective, resulting in innovative ideas you can take back to the office. Plus, these occasional excursions can help you build lasting relationships with members of a much larger market.
Small business success isn’t just about revenue and expenses. It’s about creating a culture of innovation to rise above the competition. Implement these creativity-driven processes to give your company the mojo it needs to make it to the top.