Knowing how vital innovation is in organizational success, companies are now doing what they can to drive innovative people that can help create significant changes to the business.

As innovation managers are constantly on the lookout for people with innovation potential, could innovation potential then be the key to greater innovation and unique thoughts?

What is innovation potential?

Innovation potential refers to the capacities of a business in applying innovative procedures.

It is a fundamental capability that entails the efficacy and reliability of the processes that an organization uses in developing and implementing innovations.

In other words, innovation potential involves your ability to think in a novel and revolutionary manner.

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It’s more than just creativity as it includes your propensity in coming up with ingenious and relevant products, processes, services, and ideas that may result in increased revenue and growth.

The capacity to think creatively is beneficial in many areas. It can come in handy with hiring and establishing the team that you need to turn your innovation plans into a reality.

You can also use this in designing your dream innovations, particularly in creating the mechanisms necessary to achieve them.

As a result, encouraging policies that promote innovation potential is critical for both the success of your employees and your organization.

Innovation potential and innovative behavior: Related?

Establishing activities that promote innovation is conducive to strengthening the innovation potential of every employee.

Innovative behavior happens when an organization strengthens its employees’ innovation potential.

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Innovative work behavior is described as a set of actions continuously produced to discover, introduce, and implement novel processes, products, ideas, services, and procedures that are meant to create business value and other benefits for both the customers and the company.

This implies that innovative behavior increases the organization’s competitiveness.

However, the levels of innovation behavior that employees will demonstrate highly rely on the organization’s leadership and values.

How can leaders encourage innovative behavior?

Good leadership and a supportive work atmosphere boost innovation behavior.

Some of the contributing elements are as follows:

Management techniques that promote collaboration

When innovation leaders let employees from different levels with diverse expertise collaborate, they create greater commercial outcomes.

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Moreover, they feel more confident in carrying out various responsibilities, recognizing how important their insights are to the team and how their superiors value their efforts in helping the company achieve its innovation objectives.

Evaluation and constructive criticism

Constructive criticism is a useful tool in the workplace for helping employees learn and improve their thought processes.

It is a valuable resource that provides employees with a fresh perspective, allowing them to open themselves to methods and topics that they might’ve ignored or never considered.

Incentives, recognition of efforts, rewards

One method for motivating innovation behavior is to use rewards. Organizations may begin to reward ideas and projects that are feasible, creative, and are aligned with business strategies.

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When people are recognized for their efforts, they become more determined to prove themselves even more.

As a result, they become more hardworking, efficient, and innovative. They create inputs with quality, and they feel more motivated to work.

A corporate culture that encourages risk-taking and inclusivity in decision-making

A culture that promotes risk-taking and inclusivity in decision-making promotes open and upward communication, a diligent exchange of information and best practices, ongoing process development, and a strong commitment to ethical and responsible corporate behavior.

Allow your subordinates the opportunity to pursue their ideas without fear of jeopardizing their career standing. If you don’t push your staff to take risks, you are creating an environment that instills a fear of failing, which may then inhibit or slow down progress.

A work environment that fosters psychological safety in the expression of ideas

The importance of psychological safety in fostering creative conduct cannot be overstated.

Employees who feel secure expressing their thoughts are more likely to express their creativity, which may lead to game-changing inventions.

They are driven to look for opportunities to step up and lead, working with goals that are connected with the company’s aspirations.

As a result, team members feel included and valued, knowing that their insights are appreciated.

How to recognize innovation potential?

According to a meta-review of innovation indicators conducted by researchers Dziallas and Blind:

Innovation potential cannot be quantified in and of itself but must be appraised in terms of its eventual consequence, which might be positive or negative.

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It is vital to identify employees that are demonstrating innovative practices so you can include them in conducting your innovation process.

But how do you do this?

If you want to assess somebody’s innovation potential, there are several characteristics that you need to look for besides the person’s capacity to think creatively.

These traits can be evaluated through various tests such as personality assessments and qualitative interview procedures. You can also review the individual’s work history and track record.

What are the traits?

A person with innovation potential exhibits these ten traits:

1. Exhibits constant initiative

Innovative people have the willingness and determination to take action.

Aside from intellect, this characteristic is what allows them to rapidly pursue the shift from academic work to practical ideas, especially when preparing prototypes and carrying out experiments.

2. Acknowledges the need for diversity

Innovators value diversity and recognize that innovation needs a variety of perspectives to completely comprehend the complexities of economic, technical, and other issues.

They encourage others to share their insights and opinions when thinking about possible solutions.

3. Looks for alternatives

As other employees stop at dead ends, individuals with innovation potential focus on looking for alternatives and other opportunities.

They discuss multiple project pathways and identify which one fits their situation and objectives best.

4. Continuously iterates ideas

People with innovation potential are repeatedly evaluating their initial concept and are regularly open for feedback.

They want nothing but the best, so they continually go over their plans, processes, and ideas to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.

5. Questions assumptions

Innovative individuals are inherently inquisitive. They are prone to questioning many assumptions that everyone else takes for granted.

They are naturally curious, so they always investigate alternatives and possibilities. They also scrutinize things, even their very own ideas.

6. Loves taking calculated risks

Innovators understand that taking risks is a necessary component of creating significant discoveries and progressing society.

This implies how they like trying new ways of doing things, including the small-scale failures that come with it for progress.

7. Facilitates effective communication

One of the most important characteristics that innovators and entrepreneurs have is the opportunity to interact with different people.

This is how they can discuss several issues and suggestions with their colleagues, including what works and what doesn’t.

8. Easily spots patterns

People with innovative potential easily observe interrelated patterns and data points as they seek to better comprehend the natural occurrence of things and how they can be modified for the better.

9. Ventures multiple interests at once

True innovators don’t like concentrating their efforts on a single project.

Because they have the aptitude to excel in a variety of areas and disciplines, they feel compelled to pursue a variety of endeavors and interests, which may overlap and feed off of one another.

10. Goes beyond limits

Innovators do not confine themselves to their inhibitions and limits. They discard outmoded preconceptions and self-limiting notions.

They have the confidence and fortitude to continue pushing themselves through challenges as well as their environment.

Can you improve innovation potential in people?

As the company’s innovation manager, you can constantly cultivate and improve your people’s innovative potential by simply promoting innovation culture, particularly creative liberty.

Promoting a culture of innovation

Your organizational culture can greatly impact your personnel:

When you create a professional environment based on practices that encourage creativity and novel thinking, you establish a workplace that polishes innovation potential.

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While the business’s senior management has the responsibility to create this kind of environment, developing a kind of culture that supports productivity, trust, psychological safety, and excellent communication is mostly dependent on how workers connect with one another.

These elements are interconnected.

Effective, inclusive, and consistent communication improves psychological safety, which aids trust and commitment to the objectives of the company.

On fostering creative liberty

Employees are more driven to demonstrate competence and responsibility when they truly think they have the freedom to act in accordance with their creative insights.

With creative liberty, they are more likely to participate in innovative thinking, problem-solving, experimenting, learning, and divergent thinking.

This suggests that the stronger a person’s sense of creative liberty, the more focused and inspired they will be to achieve great results.

This will then create a domino impact on their ingenuity, problem-solving capabilities, and innovative engagement.

Note that fostering this kind of atmosphere necessitates transitioning away from micromanagement, and establishing an environment of trust and confidence instead.

Innovation culture and innovation potential

Having people with innovation potential is great, but with people who are more than willing to learn, innovation culture can play a bigger role than innovation potential alone.

The success of your organization is heavily influenced by the kind of leadership that you exhibit.

However, innovation success is a two-way street. You need to make your employees feel valued and appreciated — not only for their potential but also for their efforts.

You need to establish a culture that is open to varied insights, a workplace that rewards and recognizes hard work and an organization that not only targets company and innovation success, but also individual growth.

Remember that at the end of the day, the potential is important. But the culture that enhances this potential and transforms it into behavior is what matters most.

Check out our free employee engagement guide that details the different innovation engagement levels, how to engage your employees, and how to measure their engagement.