As we move towards the future of work, many organizations are wondering what they should do to prepare. How can they set themselves up for the most success? What steps can they take now to be ready for a new workplace? There's a lot of uncertainty, but the best way to combat that is simple--turn your organization into an experimental lab.
Most organizations operate as factories, where everything is set and formulaic. However, the companies that will be best prepared for the future of work and have a competitive advantage are those companies that operate as labs and experiment to test things out. Creating a culture of experimentation in a company isn't as hard as it may seem--here's how to do it in three steps.
- Innovate and create new things. Encourage employees to try something new and to think outside the box. Your employees are some of your greatest assets because they know the company well and are familiar with your history and where you are going. Who better than to invent than people who work with your products and services everyday? For example, any employee at Whirlpool can come up with an idea and pitch it to a management team. Other companies have similar internal incubator companies that encourage creativity and innovation.
- Put together teams and give employees resources. Once employees have their ideas and encouragement, give them the freedom to collaborate and the resources to be successful. Adobe's Kickstarter program gives all interested employees $1,000 to develop a prototype of a new product or service. Employees in the program also participate in a two-day innovation workshop to fine-tune their ideas. For a company as large as Adobe, investing $1,000 in each new idea isn't much, but it can greatly help to encourage creativity and add to the pipeline of new ideas.
- Implement new ideas. The final step is to actually take advantage of the experiments and apply them in your organization. After spending time and money on the incubation programs, find a few ideas that can be incorporated and keep the rest in a pipeline for later. Your employees can be your greatest resource, especially when they have the freedom and resources to innovate.
The focus on experimentation shouldn't be counting successes and failures, but rather changing the company mindset towards one of growth and invention. As your thinking changes and new ideas are created and tested, your organization will be leading the charge towards the future of work.
How is your organization encouraging employee experimentation?