Your employees want to work in an environment where their creativity is encouraged and valued. This means they need their own ideas to be acknowledged, listened to, and considered for implementation.
Teresa M. Amabile, a Harvard professor and psychologist, explains more;
High-creativity projects tended to have environments that were more intellectually challenging and offered sufficient resources, greater degrees of freedom, and much encouragement of innovative thinking, as opposed to harsh evaluation of new ideas—all aspects that support intrinsic motivation.
Instead of shooting down employee ideas, supervisors should create a framework where innovative ideas can be piloted.
For example, an employee could write a thoughtful proposal to get funding for a pilot project, or be allotted time to work on anything they think would improve the company. Google popularized this particular model with the introduction of their 20% Project, which enabled employees to commit up to a fifth of their time on personal projects for the company. Both Gmail and Adsense resulted from this initiative. Giving the employees the green light to “tinker” can help any organization become more innovative.
While not every proposal can be accepted, providing a clear and transparent framework for idea generation is critical to fostering a culture of creativity and innovation.
Additionally, companies should emphasize A/B testing and empirical data as part of the idea proposal process. That way, the data will determine whether an idea has objective potential.