8 Ways Innovative Companies Keep Their Creative Juices Flowing

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Today's Question: How does your firm stay innovative?

The answers below are provided by members of FounderSociety, an invitation-only organization comprised of ambitious startup founders and business owners.

1. We Identify Hurdles

As an agency, we communicate with several partners every week and pay close attention to the things that stand between their current performance and future goals. By hearing about what could potentially become a barrier to our client's success, we're able to solve problems creatively and develop new solutions.

— Justin Moodley, LASANAN

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2. We Have a Big Vision

Our roadmap includes ideas of capabilities that do not quite exist yet. We strive to always be learning from others, coming up with new ideas, and exercising our minds by sometimes just starting with a blank sheet of paper when solving problems.

— Arry Yu, GiftStarter.com

3. We Make Innovation Part of Our Core

Innovating and staying on top of the latest tools and techniques is core to our business. It all starts with learning and sharing among the team. We also have a weekly meeting to discuss internal projects and use part of this time to come up with new ways we can create and share reusable software on Github.

— John Arroyo, Arroyo Labs, Inc.

4. We're Open to Ideas

Create healthy relationships among your workers and always encourage open discussion. Someone might have the next brilliant idea that could help the company, boost your marketing and sales, and strengthen your brand recognition. Encourage people to share their ideas freely by supporting some of it and discussing ideas during your weekly or monthly meetings.

— Jessica Baker, Aligned Signs

5. We Instituted 'Idea Friday'

Every Friday, we discuss new ideas for the company. We usually spend around 30 minutes in the morning (extended, if necessary) to give ideas that employees can do for their projects. This is a great idea because everyone can support each other. I also have an anonymous tip box in which people can place their ideas if they would like to remain unnamed.

— Ajmal Saleem, Suprex Learning

6. We Keep Learning

The learning process never stops. It's important to continually research industry trends and stay on top of the latest and greatest. As a marketing company, we have to stay on top of a lot of legitimate information. There's also a lot of irrelevant hype out there. It's crucial to differentiate the relevance from the noise and continually build effective, custom client strategies from there.

— Angela Delmedico, Elev8 Consulting Group

7. We Remember It's an Ongoing Process

A lot of people think innovation is something that ebbs and flows. The reality that I've learned when working with startups is that it's really something that never stops. You always have to be on the lookout for a new way of doing things and keep an open mind for new processes and tactics. Never let yourself fall into the mindset that you're "finished" improving something – you aren't.

— Steven Buchwald, The E2 Visa Lawyer

8. We Read, Ask, and Replicate

I have Google alerts set up for many different transcription services categories we work in, and they provide me with quite a bit of industry information. We ask our clients, employees, and subcontractors quarterly if they have any ideas or suggestions that can make us a better company. We will also use what others have used successfully. There's no sense in trying to reinvent the wheel.

— Ben Walker, Transcription Outsourcing, LLC