Written by: Katherine Pendrill, Research Writer and Publicity Coordinator, Trend Hunter

No matter how big or small a company is, innovation is crucial for growth. Not only does innovation help brands stay ahead of competitors, but with each new idea, there is an opportunity to improve the everyday lives of consumers. Of course, talking about the need for innovation is very different for actually fostering a culture that is receptive to creative thinking.

It is this struggle to implement a culture of innovation that Trend Hunter – the world’s number one trend-spotting platform – has observed by working with Fortune 500 brands such as Starbucks, Samsung and addias. As a result, Trend Hunter has come up with four key tips that companies of any size can use to foster a culture of innovation in the workplace.

1. Emphasizing a team mentality

As Trend Hunter CEO Jeremy Gutsche frequently emphasizes, innovation is very rarely a solo pursuit. Instead, innovation must be a collective effort that involves people of all different departments and levels of seniority. This means reinforcing the idea that everyone has a stake in the company’s success, regardless of their position. When everyone in the company understands the value of the mission, they are more likely to want to contribute ideas and be actively involved in the creative process.

2. Thinking outside the office

Even if everyone in the office feels invested in the innovation process, it can still be difficult to generate new ideas on a regular basis. Indeed, creative thinking can sometimes be stunted when confined to the inside of an uninspiring office space. As a result, sometimes a change of scenery is necessary to get the creative juices flowing again. At Trend Hunter, this happens in the form of monthly ‘Fun Days,’ which take place on a Friday afternoon once per month. While these excursions can range from brewery tours to sewing classes, each activity helps the team gain a fresh perspective on how to approach new ideas.

3. Embracing failure

One of the biggest mistakes that top innovators make is choosing safe or predictable ideas simply because they don’t want to risk that their project might fail. Unfortunately, it is this very attitude that holds many companies back from the cutting-edge ideas that can put them ahead of the competition. What companies need to understand, is that failure is integral to innovation. Though it may seem counter intuitive, failure can serve as a learning process that reveals what works and what doesn’t work. As Gutsche points out in his ‘Better and Faster’ keynote, sometimes failure, and subsequently learning from that mistake, is the only way to truly reinvent your company.

4. Learning from the best

Though most business leaders know the importance of staying on top of a competitor’s latest products or services, there is something else they should be looking out for. Indeed, business leaders should be looking at how their competitors come up with these new products and services in the first place. Trend Hunter helps brands do this with its very own Innovation Assessment, which shows professionals how their innovation style stacks up against other professionals. It is this attention to how other brands approach innovation that can help companies adjust and perfect their own creative strategy.

In short, fostering a culture of innovation is not only necessary for staying abreast of competitors, but also adapting to industry changes and creating a modern business model that fits our rapidly changing world.

For more information about how to accelerate information and spark creative thinking, join Trend Hunter for its annual Business Innovation Conference in Toronto this September.

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