Innovation Tips and Tricks to Help You Succeed at Work


Innovation isn’t just about the latest tech gadget or newest car. Innovation can happen at your office every day – when employees find new solutions to challenges, big and small. Being innovative is a career skill that will help you in your job today and in the future. Studies show that it can help you to be more satisfied and more effective at work. Like any skill, you can practice being innovative and get better at it over time.

Here are three things you can do today to become a better innovator.

1. Try Something New

When you experience new situations or learn new things, your brain can make new connections – a powerful element in innovative thinking. So have lunch with a colleague who has different work experience. Or, attend a networking event outside of your field to get ideas that might apply to your own work. You might be surprised, for example, that hearing about a new project in the IT department can give you ideas for solving a scheduling issue for your own team. If you are looking for ways to meet new people, try these networking tips.

2. Ask “Why?” 

We’ve all been there before: stuck in a rut, where new ideas seem few and far between. Breaking free of a mental block starts with asking questions. A simple step you can take toward more innovative thinking is to ask questions. It helps you challenge the accepted way of thinking and see if there’s a better way to do things. Start by asking “why?” Here are a few good “why” questions to get you started:

  • Why do we do it this way?
  • Why haven’t we tried that?
  • Why couldn’t we change this?

3. Learn from Other Innovators

Many government agencies encourage their employees to share innovative ideas. Keep an eye out for groups that spur innovation in your workplace and ask how you can get involved. For example, the VA Center for Innovation encourages new ideas and solutions that help Veterans – whether you work at VA or not. You can also follow @VAInnovation on Twitter to stay up to date on projects and competitions.

Are you interested in learning more about innovation and critical thinking? Check out these behaviors that can help you succeed at work.

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LaRel Rogers

Great blog! I feel like I’m constantly asking “Why”, more so why do we do it this way and is there a way we can do it better? Being innovative goes a long way and asking the right questions, learning from the pros and trying something new is a great start!

Francesca El-Attrash

Great tips! Especially like the link to VA Center for Information. The Start, stop, and continue strategy definitely looks like something I want to try.