Netballers show the way to let innovation shine in workplace

Northern Mystics attack team Catherine Latu and Maria Tutaia practice the new lifting tactic. Photo / Dean Purcell
Northern Mystics attack team Catherine Latu and Maria Tutaia practice the new lifting tactic. Photo / Dean Purcell

Many people across New Zealand have been abuzz over the Northern Mystics' recent defensive innovation during their game against the Melbourne Vixens.

One of the Mystics' star defenders, Anna Harrison, was hoisted into the air by her defensive partners to block goal attempts by the Vixen shooters - a move now being dubbed the "chair lift". This successful innovative strategy has generated huge interest and become a key talking point.

Innovation has also recently become a bit of a buzzword within the business world. Global research by Kenexa suggests that organisations should focus on four key areas to create an innovative culture:

* Embrace diversity: if everyone in your organisation is the same, creative thinking may be limited. To truly cultivate an innovative culture an organisation should have people with different backgrounds and experiences to gain varied perspectives

* Embrace challenge and change: innovation is usually challenging and entails some form of change, therefore an organisation should create a workplace culture that embraces challenges and change so innovation can occur.

* Devote the time: often organisations miss out on innovative ideas because employees are not given time to be innovative. Organisations must allow their employees time to reflect on objectives, strategies and processes in order to be innovative

* Communicate openly: employees must feel comfortable sharing their innovative ideas, so open communication is vital in maintaining an innovative culture.

The importance of innovation can also be seen in NZ-based research by KenexaJRA. Analysis of the 230-plus organisations that participated in NZ's Best Workplaces Survey last year found that nearly 18 per cent of organisations in the top 25 per cent of best workplaces identified innovation as a key strategy for 2012. None of the organisations in the bottom 25 per cent considered innovation their most important strategy. The results suggest that a focus on innovation is linked to higher levels of employee engagement.

As the Mystics continue to use their innovative "cheer lift" to their advantage, we are all reminded of the benefits of pushing the boundaries a little further to reap greater rewards.

The Kenexa Best Workplaces Survey is run in association with the Herald and supported by Kiwibank and the Department of Labour. The survey is available until August 31. Register online: http://www.jra.co.nz/bestworkplaces/

- NZ Herald

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