Reflecting on Steve Jobs and Innovation in the Workplace

Reflecting on Steve Jobs and Innovation in the Workplace

With the upcoming Innovation Conference on October 13, I’ve been thinking more about the term, innovate, which comes from Latin, meaning, to renew. Innovation does not come from thin air, but instead, takes existing ideas and works to improve upon these ideas for some greater good. The recent passing of an extremely important innovator in the world has really moved me to reflect on how innovation is born through his inspirational life of leadership and fearlessness.

Through years of researching companies, Great Place to Work has found that Best Companies are actually amazing learning environments. These companies emphasize the learning process where they continually encourage their employees to push their limits and contribute in new and fresh ways. In one Best Company, creative ideas are encouraged to flow with a bank where people can deposit or withdraw an inspiring idea. This mode of learning exchange facilitates a process of innovation. Employees are encouraged to offer solutions and try new things out, even if it means these ideas might initially end in failure. Another Best Company even feels strongly that it is okay to fail and that the only way to get better is to try in the first place. 

The type of environment that fosters a place of learning is one where employees aren’t afraid to offer up new ideas, regardless of whether or not they are successful. In fact among the respondents in companies that made the 50 Best Small and Medium Workplaces list, 91% indicate that the following statement, Management recognizes honest mistakes as part of doing business, is often true or almost always true.

What is apparent is that in these environments, all employees, regardless of position, feel empowered to share innovations. As we commemorate a visionary that pushed the boundaries of the world as we know it and what we didn’t even know was possible, I congratulate companies that aren’t afraid to fail in order to learn the type of success that makes a dent in the universe.