Considering he filed a record-setting 1,093 patents in his lifetime, it’s no wonder Thomas Edison is regarded as the embodiment of invention. While undoubtedly a genius, what made him so remarkable was not just what he made but the way he worked – his famous Invention Factory outside Newark, New Jersey was arguably the world’s first research and development facility, in which teams of scientists and workers were free to collaborate and experiment to develop remarkable products.
Edison didn’t dictate solutions from the top down but rather encouraged innovation to solve problems and improve outcomes. He realized that when you tell people what to do or think about a project, you’re killing the chances that they’ll come up with innovative solutions and reducing their investment in the outcome.
Encourage others to brainstorm and produce solutions together rather than dictating what you believe is the best way to solve a problem or tackle a project. Not only will this produce better products, plans or services, it will also lead to a greater sense of accountability for everyone, reinforcing team cohesion and increasing self-motivation for all.
When you tell people what to do or how to think about a project, you’re killing the chances that they’ll come up with innovative solutions and reducing their investment in the outcome.
- Avoid dictating how to best approach a problem; instead, ask each team member to offer solutions
- Empower team members to think outside the box and discover solutions, rather than waiting for instruction
- Encourage your team to believe they can make a difference so they will share their ideas
- Foster team success to help motivate the team to be more innovative