How to Foster a Culture of Innovation

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Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Management pros

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Innovation is the secret to success in any organization. It’s a crucial part of driving your business forward and remaining relevant in an increasingly competitive market. It’s also a buzzword, thrown about with little explanation. Why is innovation so critical for the success of your organization and how you can make this an integral part of your corporate culture?

Article 4 Minutes

This guide will take a more in-depth look at why innovation is so critical for the success of your organization and how you can make it an integral part of your corporate culture.  

What is innovation and why is it so important?

Innovation is the introduction of something new, be that an idea, method, process, device, or product. So it’s easy to understand why innovation is critical to the success of an organization:

  • Work smarter, not harder - being innovative isn't just about coming up with new products - it’s about finding new ways to streamline your processes and make things more efficient so you can boost productivity without creating more work.
  • Solve problems - being able to come up with creative solutions makes it easier to solve problems and get more effective systems in place in the future.
  • Boost your offerings - innovation and creativity help you to come up with better designs or services so you can offer your customers the very best. It also helps you to find new ways of connecting with them and boosting your reputation.
  •  Stay competitive - with new businesses emerging every day, competition is getting tougher and tougher. By ensuring your organization is offering the best possible product or service, you can stay ahead of the competition. 

7 ways you can make innovation the bedrock of your culture

How can you foster a culture of innovation in your organization to ensure you're staying efficient and competitive?

Make innovation a key objective

Objectives and goals give your organization something to aim for. They’re a helpful way of setting targets and measuring the results to see if you're making progress. By making innovation a key objective for your business, you’ll be encouraged to develop and implement strategies that satisfy this objective. You’ll also find yourself reviewing it more regularly and deciding whether enough is being done to encourage creativity at every level. That way, if you're not meeting your goals you can quickly rectify the situation.

Invest in your employees

The best way to ensure your employees continue to be innovative is to equip them with the best possible skill set to be creative. This means offering them regular training, but also investing in new technologies and resources so they can let their creativity flow and allow them to come up with new ideas and ways of thinking.

Challenge the fear of change in senior management

Often those in the boardroom are there because they’ve put in the time and climbed the ladder. Unfortunately, this also means they might not be a digital native or perhaps they’re stuck in certain ways of thinking and doing things. One of the most important ways to ensure your organization is innovative is to challenge fear of change and new technologies.

Instead, senior management need to welcome creativity and new ways of thinking. This way they can encourage their teams to be innovative and will respond well to new suggestions and ideas from their subordinates.

Give employees time to be innovative

If your teams are juggling huge workloads and finding themselves bogged down following existing processes and procedures, when will they find the time to be creative? A good way to foster a culture of innovation is to allow your teams time to brainstorm, share ideas, and think outside the box.

In fact, it’s important to encourage employees to take time out to be innovative and to feel comfortable approaching their managers with new ideas. Therefore, a culture of open and honest communication is also important.

Encourage collaboration between departments

You should also encourage your teams to work closely with one another across departments. By working together and learning from each other, they can make connections between ideas that result in new processes, products, or services being created. Not only this, but it encourages different teams to find new ways they can work seamlessly together for increased efficiency, probability, and to ensure your customers or clients are getting the best offering.

Move fast to test and implement ideas

Speed is also going to be important in today’s competitive market - when employees come up with new and original ideas, you need to take action as soon as possible. In today’s digital world, things move quickly and if you leave the idea sitting on the table too long it could become obsolete or be snapped up by another forward-thinking organization.

By acting fast to test and implement new ideas you also show your employees how serious you are about innovation. Letting their ideas go to waste could send the message that creativity and innovation are not really a priority, which may cause them to stop sharing their ideas altogether.

Reward successful innovation

It’s important to reward those who are innovative and who do come up with and share creative new ideas. This will encourage them to continue being creative and contributing their thoughts, as well as pushing other employees to do the same.

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