As more businesses use online inventory management, manufacturing and procurement tools, businesses that stick to traditional ways of operating are likely to surrender their competitive advantage.

Equally, businesses that innovate even further will be able to compete strongly – offering shorter lead times, more attractive pricing and unparalleled supply chain reliability. Tools like barcoding, RFID tags, customer specific pricing and integration with other platforms are likely to be the difference between average and high performing businesses over the next few years. Despite having plenty of research into innovation, experts have yet to come to an agreement on what is the best way to encourage innovation in teams.

Here are 3 ways a business can encourage innovation:

Encourage learning

Foster an environment where staff can feel comfortable try new things and taking risks. Let your team try out new ideas, assessing them based on testing to learn and succeed.

Focus on your customers

At the heart of businesses is the customer. Innovative businesses analyse their customers and use the data to identify what their customers want, or could want in the future.

Promote openness

Challenge employees to look beyond their teams or department. This encourages ideas and knowledge to be shared across the business. Some good ways to share information is through teamwork, newsletters and intranets.