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Flexibility essential for fostering innovation, says management guru

Employers need flexibility, not formulas, to drive innovation, says business consultant and author Marcus Buckingham.

Speaking to the 2011 Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) annual conference and exhibition, Buckingham criticised the use of formulaic strategies for fostering creativity and innovation in the workplace. Employers who cater to employees' different strengths and working styles are far more successful in bringing out their employees' creative potential, he claimed.

Rolling out a systematic approach to innovation in a company can be well-intentioned, but can often have the opposite effect and stifle creativity, he believes. The size of a company or organisation can also affect its approach. While smaller companies are often good at encouraging employees to be creative, studies show that, the larger the organisation, the harder employees find it to put forward ideas for innovative services, products or working practices.

As well as helping a company to move forward and grow, encouraging innovative contributions from employees can also help maintain staff morale and improve recruitment and retention rates.

Acas offers practical training courses to help you get the most out of your employees by creating more productive workplace environments Visit the Acas training and business solutions page for more information.

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