Figuring out the best ways to be innovative in business can be difficult, but speakers at the 2017 Careers with Impact Forum gave tips on the steps to successful innovation within a corporation and industry-wide.
Communicate well and often.
Whether it’s communication to stakeholders, co-workers or recruiters, good communication drives success.
Not only will effective communication skills convince recruiters that you have the skillset for a certain position, but communication pushes innovation. Mackenzie McBride, associate of strategic initiatives at Cypress Creek Renewables, says this is especially true for quickly growing companies, where two people in different offices could be “racing down” the same path simultaneously without knowing it.
Broaden your horizons.
If you’re interested in sustainable business, you don’t necessarily need to work at a sustainable company, or even have a sustainable title at a traditional company.
You can have a traditional role at a traditional company and be a sustainable human, says Taylor Mallard (MBA ‘15), associate marketing manager at Burt’s Bees, a subsidiary of the larger Clorox corporation. If you have a passion for something, you can almost always incorporate it into your work, even if your position isn’t inherently tied to that passion.
Create your own experience.
Although large corporations can be daunting, you can almost always find some flexibility within an organization or a project that allows you to create your own experience and be satisfied with your work, says Boyce.
For introverts, this might be difficult. Once you find something that you’re good at, see how you can build upon it. This will give you the confidence to bring new ideas and stand behind your work, says McBride.
The best way to be innovative in the workplace is to try new things.
Many businesses, especially sustainable businesses, highly value innovation. Therefore, fresh ideas will likely be encouraged, even if they’re “half-baked” as Scott Boyce, business strategy associate at Direct Supply, says.
If your ideas aren’t making your manager say no, you aren’t pushing the limits enough, says Mallard.
If you want to bring new ideas to the table, it’s necessary to convince people that you’re an expert on that specific topic, even if you aren’t at the peak of the learning curve.
Be confident with your individual value and to know that what you bring to the table can have a huge impact within a company and in the broader industry, says Mallard.
By Mary Alice Blackstock (BA ’19)