Innovation skills refer to the talent of exploiting new ideas for the purpose of gaining social or economic value. Innovation skills are usually a combination of one’s ability to think creatively, problem-solving ability, as well as functional and/or technical abilities. Fairly speaking, innovation skills are basically one’s ability to apply a blend of knowledge, skills and attributes in a specific context.

An employee with innovation skills is usually distinguished due to his visionary thinking in the face of challenges, and his ability to shape his or someone else’s ideas with commitment and in a self-acting way.

Why are innovation skills important

The dynamic marketplace nowadays has caused innovation to be recognized as the mandatory mantra for businesses to become increasingly competitive and provide the best and the latest solutions to the problems of industry. Following are some of the benefits of innovation skills for employees; one of the most valued assets of an organization:

  • Improves efficiency. As a result of the greater inquisitiveness being displayed, innovation skills enhance the ability of the employees to recognize any potential for improvement not only in their own field but in that of others as well. They are also able to utilize the limited resources available to them in an optimal manner.
  • Overcomes monotony. Innovation skills have the power to break monotony for employees, resultantly adding to their sense of accomplishment as well as sense of fulfillment. Such efforts to make work more interesting usually become the reason behind having new and out-of-the-box ideas on one’s table.

How to improve innovation skills

Following are some helpful tips to help you improve your own innovation skills or that of your employees:

  • Creative work environment for fostering innovation. As known by most, creativity is the mother of innovation. A creative work environment is where you will come up with new ideas through mental and social processes, and application or exploitation of all such ideas, known as innovation, will follow only then.
  • Focus on changing behavior instead of acquiring technical skills. Having technical skills might be an add-on but alone it is not sufficient to improve your innovation skills. It must be done through a change in behavior. For example, inculcating the open exchange of knowledge and ideas in oneself as well as in others, being inclined towards taking risks, or even encouraging divergent thinking that provides new insights and solutions.
  • Hiring right people with the right characteristics. Efforts to improve the innovation skills of your existing employees are bound to bring about improvement in the organizational performance. However, it all roots back to the initial hiring of those employees. You must hire people with the essential characteristics such as imagination, creativity, persistence, and boldness etc. Not only are such people easy to work upon but they also help in inspiring the least innovative lot.
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