Light Bulb TurnInnovation makes the world go round and makes society evolve. Businesses rely on creativity and innovation to grow; yet so few organisations actively nurture innovation in their ranks.

Marketing in particular is a department where innovation and creativity could and should strive, bringing forth new ideas for how the business can reposition itself in the evolving marketplace.

So how does the marketing leaders nurture encourage continual innovation within their department?

Encourage Staff To Share Ideas

The ‘no idea is a bad idea’ cliché applies here. Encourage your team members to come to you with any ideas they have, and don’t shoot anyone down for having less than perfect ideas. If you give honest but constructive feedback when an idea isn’t usable, then the employee is more likely to take on board the advice and come back to you with any future ideas.

Too many companies are quick to shoot down staff members who come to them with bad ideas, without realising that it took a lot of courage just for that staff member to approach their management in the first place.

If you make a big deal about the team and how important their ideas are to the process, then you are much more likely to gain worthwhile and useable ideas from them down the line. To encourage idea sharing, you could designate a specific process for idea submission. For example, one Friday afternoon every month take a couple of hours off and have a team meeting specifically for the discussion of ideas and new concepts. Alternatively, you could have a constant ‘ideas board’ or box for the submission of any ideas, with the option for the person to remain anonymous if they prefer.

Provide Innovation Training

The process of creative problem-solving isn’t something that comes naturally to most people. Although many of us pick it up along the way through education, there is still room to improve on the process.

Provide some training sessions in the skills and formal techniques involved in creative thinking, such as brainstorming, mind mapping and lateral thinking. It’s guaranteed that even your most innovative staff members will show improvements in their creativity and the way they present their ideas.

Offer Staff Chances To Broaden Experience

A change of scenery or the opportunity to take a different view point can shake up the way the team work and boost creativity. Temporary job swaps, in-house shadowing and other challenges to perspective can give team members the chance to step back and see how others work.

This new experience can then help them to find alternative ways of tackling their own job responsibilities as well as giving more creative input on aspects of other’s work.

Innovation is the vital cog that keeps the business and its departments turning. Creativity separates the brand from its competitors and peers, and innovative ideas typically start at a team level. Nurture this innovation at each level and in every department, and the company will always have fresh ideas to tap into for growth and evolution.

Want to learn more about innovation and creativity in marketing, in addition to other aspects of strategic marketing management? Then you may be interested in the CIM Diploma in Professional Marketing.  Accredited by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), the new for 2014 course is aimed at individuals looking to build practical skills in operational marketing management and broaden their strategic perspective. For more information about this and other marketing qualifications offered by Oxford College of Marketing, call (0)1865 515 255 or email