Creating an Innovative Culture
CREATING AN INNOVATION CULTURE
Like any behavior or state of being, innovation requires the right environment to flourish. Here are some elements to have in place to foster and encourage innovation in your company.
- Willingness: Openness as a mindset and attitude are key to innovation. Is there a desire to explore new opportunities? Do people want to collaborate and learn how to do things differently or are they resistant to change? Does your company encourage colleagues to help each other or are individuals or departments working at cross-purposes and competing? Without an interest in working on growth, it will be hard to create and develop new ideas.
- Experimentation: Can people try new things? Is failure allowed as a possible outcome? Without taking risks and being willing to break a few eggs and get messy, innovation is not possible. It is rare and highly unlikely to get it absolutely perfect the first time you develop something. Consider replacing the attitude of “we have to get it right” to “let’s try something new and get some market feedback.”
- Change: Does your organization embrace and encourage change or do people find new ways of operating uncomfortable? When we are wedded to existing structures and there’s a perception that “different is bad,” it can be difficult to take risks. Accepting and encouraging change requires adaptability. For instance, if something you are doing currently isn’t working out or a new initiative isn’t getting the traction that’s needed, how can you pivot? Actively looking for new possibilities can create new products and markets that didn’t exist before.
- Collaboration: Are team efforts valued or do single contributors get all the recognition and reward? While high performers should be encouraged, it’s likely that more of your talent can outperform when given the right opportunities to excel. Processes and incentives should be in place to facilitate interactions between staff, because more ideas and input help to identify new possibilities more effectively. Diverse perspectives have been shown to increase innovation – having input from different functions, roles, backgrounds and points of view can better inform any new effort.
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