Innovative ideas can be realized at many different levels, according to Bruce Merrifield of Merrifield Consulting. Although some ideas affect a company from top to bottom, some of the best ideas come from the bottom up, Merrifield says in Bruce Merrifield on Innovation.
To foster innovation, companies should actively encourage innovative ideas from employees at all levels, and it can be as simple as acknowledging good work. "I think systematic praise works great,” Merrifield says.
Merrifield says distributors can also take a lesson from the Japanese on how to encourage innovative thinking. Merrifield says some Japanese manufacturers have not only encouraged employees to generate innovative ideas, but have trained them to evaluate and implement them, in some cases without prior approval. As long as the ideas meet established criteria, he says, they move forward.