Paul Hughes: «To Create the Best Environment for Innovation—Focus on Your People»

Paul Hughes is Vice President of Engineering for Flexera Software’s FlexNet Manager Suite for Enterprises solutions. Software License Optimization @flexerasoftware. Readers may also be interested in reading our whitepaper: The Foundation of a Successful ITAM Program - In 5 Not So Easy Steps.

«“Software innovation, like almost every other kind of innovation, requires the ability to collaborate and share ideas with other people, and to sit down and talk with customers and get their feedback and understand their needs.” (Bill Gates)

»What do you think when you hear the word “innovation?” Many may consider it an over-used buzzword. Others may immediately have thoughts of VR headsets and artificial intelligence.

»Whatever our reaction to the word, innovation plays a major role in creating business growth, local jobs and worldwide success. In our dynamic fast-paced world, innovation is crucial to remain competitive as a business.

»So how do we ensure that our teams and businesses are truly innovative?

»Firstly, it’s important to recognize that innovation starts with great ideas – the technology and the ‘what’ are just the outcomes. The real breakthrough is in the underlying idea.

»Secondly, we must realize that great ideas spontaneously form inside of people, often coming at the least expected moment from the least expected source. People come up with new ideas by creatively synthesising existing ideas they have been exposed to.

»This leads us to the realization that true innovation is a lot more about people than it is about technology, and that it is not something that can be forced.

Firstly, it’s important to recognize that innovation starts with great ideas – the technology and the ‘what’ are just the outcomes. The real breakthrough is in the underlying idea.

»Instead of focusing on how we can drive innovation, as leaders we need to focus on how we can establish the best conditions for people to synthesize new breakthrough ideas. We want to create an environment where we bring diverse and talented people together, where they are trusted and respected, and where they can work together to come up with inspiring ideas that are at the heart of true innovation.

»I could stop right here with this blog post. When you connect with the idea that our job as leaders is establishing the environment for innovation, I’m sure you will translate that into dozens of specific things you can do to help nurture this atmosphere in your team and company. But to start the ball rolling, here are some specific things to consider:

»_ A collaborative culture. So often breakthrough ideas come from different people sharing and brainstorming together. Each idea combines with the last, and we end up with a resulting idea that comes from the seeds of several people rather than a single person.

»¬_ A diverse team with a wide variety of knowledge and experiences to ensure that we have the richest pool of ideas to draw from

»_ Access to a number of sources of ideas to synthesise. For example, access to new technologies to experiment with, access to videos and training on different topics, access to the strategy of the company, key challenges of the business, etc.

»_ An office space that facilitates collaboration. For example, the design of the office should naturally encourage collaboration – seating structures, access to whiteboards, etc.

»_ An atmosphere of trust, respect, and genuine care because people are most free to be creative and innovative when they are treated this way.

»_ Dedicated time and habits to spend time thinking. For example, regularly scheduled time for research, hackathons, company brainstorms, etc.

»I wish you all the best in your and your team’s innovative endeavours. I’d love to hear any stories about specific ways you foster an atmosphere of innovation in your team.

»To learn more about Flexera Software’s innovative and intelligent solutions for managing software, please visit our website. Flexera Software has been awarded a Top 100 Workplaces honor for the fourth time by the Chicago Tribune. The Top Workplaces lists are based solely on the results of an employee feedback survey and several aspects of workplace culture were measured – including Alignment, Execution and Connection. (Read the press release here).»

Innovation and ideas

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