Despite innovation itself being very difficult to measure, we should still aim to foster a culture of innovation where we work. One of the issues with this, though, is the question of how to do that and what to do with it once you have it. Lucky for you, people have already answered some of these questions.
This article will help you understand what a culture of innovation is, what its benefits are, and what you need to foster one. By the end, you should be able to help your company create such a culture and in doing so lead it to success. So, read on for more information and take your organization to the next step.
What Is a Culture of Innovation?
In many different areas of business and industry, you will find that people define a culture of innovation in different ways. They may even have their own terms for it, such as:
- Creative entrepreneurship
- Creativity promotion
- Organizational creativity
- Corporate creativity
- A climate of innovation
- Organizational innovation
These all mean approximately the same thing. Generally, a culture of creativity or innovation encourages new ideas. It fosters the idea that putting forward solutions is a goal in and of itself to find new ways to do things. It then aims to analyze and triage these ideas to find ways to improve how the company works.
While a culture of innovation is a broad term to describe the above, it can also refer to specific methods of creative iteration. For example, it may refer to attempts to incorporate radical or continuous innovation as “innovation culture”.
Benefits of a Culture of Innovation
When a company engages in a culture of innovation, it is trying to seek new ideas. In other words, this means it is attempting to not stagnate and is trying to find a new corner of the market to thrive in. These things can drive a business to develop far beyond what it set out to do at the start.
For this reason, companies tend to invest a lot into developing new and innovative products. They want to “wow” consumers and offer a USP so far unseen in the market.
To do this, they often set up specific workshops or labs to develop new ideas for digital or physical products. They often also organize challenges or “jams” to encourage creative thinking. This way they can do so without the difficulties of their regular job weighing over them.
Other benefits include:
If you want to be creative, you need to not have the same brains in the room. You will want people who act, perceive the world, and think differently from others.
Encouraging diversity in your company and hiring from different cultures can kickstart new ways of seeing how you work. So, look into the hiring and reward process in your company. Are you doing everything you can to bring in thinkers who are not of the same demographics as your existing innovators?
If you do not change, you will stagnate. Be aware that most workers do not believe that their organization listens to their ideas and that they will make a change.
Instead, you should have goals and methods that encourage new styles of thinking. Get your employees to feel listened to, and they will give you more ideas.
With more ideas, your company can move forward and stay ahead of the game.
With new methods of thinking you can start to make goals for how you want people to perceive your company in one, five, or ten years. You can start to lock in a goal and move towards making the changes that will bring it about.
Without an innovative goal, your aim will only be to be exactly where you are in ten years.
It is possible to curate a culture of innovation for the business value of your company. As you continue to innovate and bring out new ideas, you will start to create unique selling points for your products or services. By leveraging these, you will gain a greater stake in the market and in doing so increase your company’s value.
So the question starts to be: Can you afford NOT to invest in a culture of innovation? Or more bluntly, what is the cost to your business of doing nothing?
Four Elements for Successful Innovation
To understand true innovation culture, you need to know what drives it. The answer to that is people, processes, technology, and data.
The people who actually do the work and make the innovations. It would be impossible to be innovative without people to do so. You should not only hire the people you expect to be innovative but release those already in the company from their tasks. If they are already burdened with other work, they cannot focus on what matters.
Establish an environment that is open and inclusive in order to attract and retain the best and most diverse candidates. Integrate workplace innovation efforts that will be critical to accelerating transformation, while ensuring the right rewards and incentives to facilitate innovation and upskilling to sustain innovation.
Even when innovating, there are steps that you need to go through to ensure everything works as it should. Finding that process for your team, and reducing waste, can speed up your ability to innovate and create consistent results.
Develop a systematic approach to innovation — from ideation to commercialization — and establish digital KPIs along with a centralized budget for digital transformation. Customer centricity should be at the core of continuous improvement, and a feedback loop is essential.
Technology is not a solution itself. It can help make a good solution better, though. Empowering your innovation team with communications and collaboration tools can help them. It will allow them to make the best decisions they can.
Enhance the organization’s approach to digital transformation through technologies that allow simplification, flexibility, and agility – cloud, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Also, make sure that cybersecurity is embedded throughout the entire organization.
It is very difficult to innovate if you do not understand both what you are innovating and how it is currently used. Getting the largest amount of raw data is imperative to allow your innovators to work. Data-driven design lets them refine any innovations they can think of, as well as prove whether an idea has merit or not.
It will be critical that data-driven insights are leveraged to improve enterprise-wide decision-making and collaboration. One way to capitalize on the value of data is to develop data-driven products and services and revenue streams.
Where Can I Learn More?
You should now have a much better idea of what a culture of innovation means for both yourself and your organization. You might still have questions, though, and I am happy to answer them.
If you want to know more about what I can offer you, what I know about innovation, or any other question, you need only get in touch. Reach out to me anytime and I will make sure to get back to you as fast as I can.