My APICS (#1 trade association for supply chain and operations management) chapter hosted an executive panel & networking symposium which was focused on the topic of innovation. Innovation is a critical topic! Problem solving and maintaining the status quo is no longer enough as customers expect more, regulations increase etc. Thus, how do you create a culture of innovation in your company?

10 tips that pop to mind that came up during our panel discussion include: 1) Empower your people. 2) Learn continuously. 3) Try new things and don’t be afraid to fail (which can be considered learning what not to do next time, just like Edison did with the light bulb.) 4) Think about innovative products, services, processes, ideas….. 5) Toyota & Lean concepts apply! 6) You don’t have to first to market to be an innovator. 7) Think about driverless cars and alternative fuels. 8) Can we be innovative in dealing with the water shortage in CA? 9) Test out Vocademy, a makerspace for 8-98 year olds. 10) Participate in groups like APICS to brainstorm and get your innovative juices flowing.

One tip to implement this week:
A common problem with thinking about 10 tips (let alone the 100 tips we probably received at the symposium) is that it can be overwhelming. Instead, pick your favorite. Or if that is too challenging, pick the first tip. Think about what you can do this week related to this tip. For example, if you are thinking about empowering your people: What can you do so that your people will know you have confidence in them and will be OK if they try out new ideas? Even if they fail! Could you celebrate the best idea that didn’t work?