There are people who can identify a problem but do nothing about it and there are those who will immediately try to find a solution. There are authors who will tell you there is not enough innovation and there is Gijs van Wulfen who will offer some innovative ideas to inspire managers to change.
Building on Gijs ideas, managers could also increase the amount of innovation that they and their team generate by hiring more people who posses that skill already and here is a simple evidence based way to determine this in the interview.
All you need is just one question which you ask 3 times.
“We need someone who can help us become more innovative, can you give me several examples of where you contributed innovative ideas that improved the way you did things in your current role”
Next, drill down and get the details on when it happened, who else was involved, how the innovative idea made an impact to the business, what obstacles they faced to get it done, what support if any they were given, did it inspire others to take up the idea and develop it further, what they learned from the experience and what they would do differently if they had to do it again.
You then ask the same question in relation to their precious roles to determine if this is a trend in their way of working as one example may is not enough proof that they have an innovative mindset.
All companies are a series of interconnected processes; we have accounting, sales, design, marketing, and operations to name a few obvious ones. Everyday the best performers are always generating ideas on how to improve their process and the best managers encourage and reward these innovative steps. In Japan, kaizen means continuous improvement and by encouraging everyone on the team to continuously improve the way they work you can create an innovative mindset.
The more innovative people you hire the more you sow the seeds of an innovative culture. If you want to have highly motivated employees new research shows that money is not the prime motivator but a combination of Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose are the main drivers. Hiring more innovative people and giving them the opportunity to continuously improve what they do will give them a greater sense of autonomy, mastery and overall a real purpose for what they have been hired to do – making your company the next Google, Apple, Amazon, because we can all see that you can go from a start up in a garage to the most valuable company on the planet if you hire the right people and innovate.