How to Foster Innovation

by Sharon Krohn, PCC

I recently met with a team of leaders to help them craft a development plan for their organization. We gathered for a facilitated consensus-building Brainstorm session to explore the question: How can a leader foster a culture of Innovation & engagement?

Through the evening, the team engaged in meaningful dialogue that deepened their connections, and when we concluded the meeting, the group agreed that this compelling agenda would propel their organization forward.

To foster a culture of Innovation & engagement, these leaders agreed on the following principles:

  1. Create a Culture of Engagement: The basis of developing an innovative work environment is creating a culture of trust.  To achieve this, leadership must deliver on what they promise, empower the team and ensure that everyone shares in the benefits of work.  To motivate every person to bring passion and enthusiasm, leaders of the organization would encourage positive energy, encourage kindness and empathy, and celebrate team contribution and member success.
  1. Create an Innovative Learning Environment – Investing in the learning and professional development  of every member of the team is valuable for the organization, leaders and each member of the team. Fostering lifelong learning, diverse learning experiences, and group and individual coaching and training programs and will benefit everyone.


  1. Leverage Diversity – Studies have shown that inviting a diversity of perspective enhances the overall product and service of very organization. This enables everyone to be creative and see things in a new way. Hire a diverse workforce. Implement a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan. Everyone gains.


  1. Foster Effective Communication – Open, robust communication in all directions – up, down, and across – external and internal, helps everyone. Listening effectively and truly being interested in what others have to say will create opportunities for connection and dialogue. Being open to learning from what others say and being responsive to employee and customer feedback, enhances the environment and improves everyone.


  1. Encourage and Reward Risk – Be open to bold new ideas: Encourage and praise those who have taken smart risk. Encourage moving outside one’s comfort zone. Reward those with new ideas. Inspire an agile environment. Don’t let mistakes be taboo. Rather, share both success and failure stories and focus on the positive learnings.  Don’t hold on to bad idea.  Move on. Reward risk taking. This is often a tough one for leaders, and one they often give lip-service to the encouragement of risk to spur creativity. But creating a safe environment to experiment can yield significant rewards for forward thinking organizations.



These concepts are applicable to many leadership teams. Let us know that you think might work for your organization.  Contact Sharon to share your ideas and take them to the next level for your team!