We’ve all seen pictures of Google’s Headquarters – former train carriages used as meeting rooms, ‘quiet pods’ for thinking time, and designated areas to sneak in a power nap. Given the tech giant’s success – they must be doing something right!

One of Australia’s most successful franchise businesses, Domino’s Pizza, has taken a leaf out of Google’s book and installed its very own innovation hub in their Queensland Headquarters, complete with astroturf, garden furniture, and the all-important exposed brick walls. The hub’s sole purpose? Provide a space for staff to cultivate their ideas, soundboard off one another, and develop ways to progress the Domino’s Pizza brand even further.

To remain competitive and grow in today’s market, franchisees and franchisors cannot overlook investing in innovation – it’s critical to your success. We at LegalVision built our entire business model on this notion. If you’re a business owner, and likely thinking “that all sounds great, but I don’t really have much room for astroturf”, you can still encourage innovation in your franchise. Below, we set out what five acts you can practically implement to promote innovation.

1. Require all Staff to Spend a day “On the Ground”

Whether you are a pizza chain, a beauty salon or Subway’s CEO, every single member of staff should regularly experience the business from the other side. This allows employees the opportunity to chat with colleagues about what they are learning, what is working well and what isn’t. Ensure that you provide feedback often and suggest how to improve processes. Importantly, listen to your staff’s ideas – you don’t want to be responsible for dismissing the next ‘Dunkin’ Donuts’ Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich’.

2. Encourage Community Participation

Whether it’s involving your staff in a charity project or participating at a local networking event – simply getting out and talking to people will often inspire new ideas. Showcase your space by inviting community members to your headquarters for panel discussions, seminars or feedback on your new product offering.

3. Make time for Innovation

Dedicate time to regularly brainstorm with your existing team, as well as other colleagues in different departments and discuss how the business could improve. Write ideas on post-its, on your phone or create a wall for employees to scribble on – anything to get the ideas out of people’s heads and onto paper to bring them to life.

4. Embrace Technology

You cannot sidestep the ease, efficiency and convenience technology has brought to businesses. If you find it overwhelming or uncomfortable, invest some time in taking short courses to distil what all the data you collect means, or how to create Excel spreadsheets. Take lunchtime courses on coding or User Experience Design – in short, familiarise yourself with tech, so you no longer fear it.

5. Reward Ideas

I am hoping the genius who invented melted cheese inside the pizza crust received a handsome reward. Seeing one’s peers rewarded for their time and ideas can ignite others to bring theirs to the table.

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Let us know what innovative ideas your business has been working on or think could improve your franchise on Twitter at legalvision_aus.

Emma Jervis

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