Entrepreneurs / Guest posts

Embracing innovation starts with these 3 steps

Solve problems creatively. Build a culture of success.

Brainstorming: don't sleep on it. (Brainstorming session with post it notes on desk by Aila Images via Shutterstock)
This is a guest post by Michael Rivera, an associate professor at Temple University's Fox School of Business.
We are all guilty of it — a half-written book, that invention you aren’t sure how to build, or the business plan getting pushed off by the ever-mounting daily grind.

Here’s the scenario we see far too often: Creative minds are hard at work, but the only way this creativity yields value is if it leads to innovation. Committing to the three key ingredients below can strengthen the link between creative problem-solving and innovation for longterm personal and organizational success.

1. Develop a culture of creativity

Leaders are responsible for rejecting the status quo as the norm in the workplace. This concept should be ingrained through all levels of the organization so that it is not an isolated process, but rather a functioning part of everyday work.

The more people feel comfortable contributing their ideas, the more engaged they will be. This also allows the organization to access potential untapped knowledge and the creation of new products or services that may not otherwise have existed. This type of expectation setting communicates the message to employees that creative problem-solving is both valued and encouraged in the company. With the right environment, ideas can move from the drawing board to action.

2. Uncertainty is an asset

Challenges need to be approached from various angles rather than with one perspective. Habitual responses to any obstacle will eventually lead your organization to hitting a roadblock. Using diverse points of view allows you to identify problems and potential solutions before they begin, rather than relying on a pattern of reacting and lagging behind the competition. “Business as usual” fails to create any room for growth. It is often our actions during times of change and uncertainty that speak much louder about who we are and how successful we can become.

3. Brainstorm

This process alone can get you and your organization on the right track to innovation. Brainstorming and brainwriting are tools with a framework, making it easy for everyone to understand the process and participate. Most importantly, they enable efficiency. The quicker solutions are on the table, the quicker the problem can be solved.

For these methods to be effective in linking ideation to innovation, ideas need to be unobstructed and come from a diverse group of participants. Ultimately you want everyone to feel a sense of urgency about the problem at hand and responsibility for personally contributing to the solution.


Constantly nurturing creativity in yourself and your organization is the lifeline to achievement in today’s fast-moving landscape. Align the creative problem-solving process with your overall strategy and your organization becomes one built on innovation.

Companies: Temple University

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