Innovation is often the key to success, but you may have wondered how you can be innovative at work. For independent insurance agents and brokers, this may mean something different than it does to people working in other industries.
Being innovative is important. Harvard Business School found that being innovative helps businesses adapt to change and overcome challenges along with fostering growth. It can also be a competitive differentiator in a crowded marketplace.
There are plenty of ways to be innovative at work — and you are probably already doing some of them. Read our tips to become more innovative and see how your agency can benefit from innovation.
How to be Innovative at Work
While insurance is a highly regulated industry, agents and brokers can still find ways to be creative and innovative at work. Part of this is mindset, and the other part is being willing to try new things.
Here are some tips to try when learning to be more innovative at your agency:
Make innovation an embedded part of your agency.
Innovation isn’t something you do for a short time then move on. It’s more of a discipline than a trend — a long-term culture shift rather than a one-day workshop. Designing a culture where innovation happens isn’t an accident. You can work to create an agency where people can share ideas and where new thoughts are welcomed. Integrating this into the usual environment so that the entire organization is innovative is the goal.
Consider innovation as more than technology.
Certainly, technological innovation is important and plays a central role in modernizing insurance agencies and the industry overall. But it is not the only piece in the innovation pie. Try looking outside technology for innovation inspiration. Encourage employees to consider ways to be creative in workflows or processes.
Encourage a positive mindset at work.
Change can be difficult but staying positive about new ideas and ways of doing things is one way to promote innovative thinking. Sometimes people shut down and stop suggesting new things when feedback is usually negative. Try to refocus your colleagues to respond positively to suggestions and critiques and encourage a positive mindset by being open to change.
Talk to others in your network for support and ideas.
Innovation doesn’t usually happen in a vacuum. Bouncing ideas off friends and talking with colleagues can often prompt new ways of thinking. Networking can force you to think on your feet and be creative, which are helpful skills to develop on the path to innovation. Try attending events locally and nationally to build your network and find others who are also trying innovative ways of working.
Be a collaborative leader.
Empower others at your agency to be innovative, to take risks, and to try new things. Your employees have to know they can try something new without risking their jobs. Teach them that they can innovate and suggest new ways of working — and that you will consider their ideas. When people feel safe expressing their ideas, they will be more creative and innovative at work.
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