Innovation is more than a buzzword at annual meetings or a pseudo-inspirational poster in the hallway. It’s something that people encounter every day — usually without even noticing. To get employees thinking about innovation in a more tangible way, surprise your team with an exercise known as The $10 Dollar Field Trip.
Before a scheduled team lunch or status meeting, give each person on your team a $10 dollar bill and an assignment: spend the cash on something they consider “innovative” and bring it back within the hour.
Tell people they can go to the drugstore, the mall, a grocery store, wherever, but don’t elaborate any further. Let them interpret the word “innovative” for themselves.
When you reconvene, ask each participant to do a show-and-tell about why their item is innovative. A few innovations that my own team has brought back on these field trips? Jelly beans that are formulated for athletes and include carbs and electrolytes. Edible paper plates made from seaweed. A Swiss Army knife with a flash drive and a flash light.