When trying to introduce a new culture in an organisation, there are many opportunities to make a misstep. For instance, you can incorrectly assume that a new employee perk will solve all your problems. Or, you can fail to adequately describe your vision for ideal workplace culture, making it all the more impossible to realise.
Whatever the case may be, these missteps may lead you backwards in organisational culture initiatives rather than forward.
The same holds true for introducing a culture of innovation. It is an incredibly powerful way to enact innovative activities all throughout an organisation. Some studies even suggest that a company can achieve 30 percent higher enterprise value when combining a strong pro-innovation culture with effective innovation management strategies.
Below, you will find Innovolo’s most relevant insights about implementing a strong innovation culture (the right way). The insights are organised into 7 highly effective tips.
There is even a thorough guide for perfecting your innovation management and strategy, too!
But first, let’s find out more about how to achieve an innovative culture.
1. Get management to commit to innovation
First things first – you must convince your company’s leadership team that a pro-innovation culture is a correct path forward! Without proper management support, innovation managers and creative-thinking staff members will face constant barriers when trying to implement new ideas or products.
Leaders, in many ways, set the pace for the organisation. They approve budgets, adopt strategies and direct the resourcing for the organisation. These elements are essential for enacting any tangible progress for innovation.
2. Strategy considerations
Secondly, to implement a strong culture of innovation, you need to ask your teams some strategic questions:
- Do you have a goal?
- What are your pathways to innovation?
- Are you aware of trends that impact our business?
- What purpose do we have for innovation?
If you can successfully get your teams together and begin answering these questions, you will be well on your way to building a strong innovation strategy that encourages the culture to flourish.
3. Define your responsibilities
Sometimes it takes a whole team of people to bring innovation into the world. This is true whether you launch a new product like a smartphone app to support your customers, or make an internal improvement to the way your business operates.
No matter the type of improvement, the process of innovation is often interdisciplinary. You need engineers, designers, creative thinkers, managers and more to properly succeed with your innovation effort.
To make the most of the team members, you therefore must define the responsibilities. Your engineers have to understand where their responsibilities begin (and where they end). Your product manager or innovation expert needs to know what level of facilitation and follow-through they need to perform with other departments. Other tasks, such as sales, promotion, procurement, and more must be assigned designated roles.
Having clear and precise responsibilities helps to foster a strong innovative culture because there are fewer headaches for the innovation processes and every team member feels included and “at home” throughout the project.
4. Empower a culture of innovation
To truly introduce a culture of innovation at the workplace, you must understand the differences between the innovative culture and an approach that emphasises operational management. While a typical corporate management strategy is designed on efficiency and productivity, the innovation culture requires new attitudes, empowering values, and a willingness to take on risk (despite a fear of failure).
Innovative cultures are challenging for exactly that reason – they are transformative and do not come naturally to most. A strong innovation culture can be empowered through:
- Open communication with employees about the importance of innovation;
- An outspoken willingness to take risks and accept mistakes;
- Strong incentives for innovation; and,
- The creation of space and environment where innovation can flourish.
5. Be prepared for change management
The process of innovation is itself a process of change. An improvement is a new way of doing an old process.
Therefore, it is helpful if you have some change management experts on hand to help you out. To do it properly, you need to communicate widely, keep an eye on progress and constantly manage the change throughout the process.
For enacting effective change at your organisation, an outsourced innovation service provider can be the perfect change manager that you need to succeed in building a transformative culture.
Are you ready for a cultural change?
To start on a journey of building innovative culture, sometimes you need to start from the ground up.
Not sure where to begin? Let the experts at Innovolo lead the way. With an Innovation Culture Maturity Assessment, you get to work with experienced innovation practitioners and calculate a benchmark for your organisational and cultural maturity. That way, you will know if you are ready to empower a culture of innovation.
You also get tailored tools and processes to bring innovation to the forefront of all your business practices.
Innovolo’s beginning-to-end innovation campaign features an assessment phase and a foundational phase. These are followed by powerful innovation design processes and an organised campaign of encouraging innovation at your company through workshops, instructionals, and boot camps. These tactics will empower your staff to bring their bright ideas to the world!
To learn more, check out Innovolo’s Innovation Culture Maturity Assessment.
6. Get all your employees involved
One of the most important things to avoid in innovation culture is to prevent projects from being one-off events or managed as side-projects by a few individuals at your organisation.
Rather, get everyone involved!
All employees should actively engage in innovation and support the efforts of others, too. By ensuring that employees control the process of innovation and are actively involved in it, you ensure that the innovation becomes permanent and second nature to the way your business operates.
7. Collaborate with each other
For successful innovation culture, you need to bring home the idea that all employees are working toward a common goal. Both the individual projects and the overall process of innovation must feed into that goal.
If you can do this, through communication and the empowerment of your employees, you can connect the interdisciplinary teams and break down silos between departments and teams.
The end result? A more collaborative and productive innovation culture.
Why leave your innovation culture to chance?
There you have it! We hope you enjoyed reading about our 7 methods to introduce a culture of innovation to your organisation.
While the points might seem precise, to actually implement them there are often small nuances that you have to master. No change at an organisation, especially one of transformational culture, can happen overnight or without significant effort by many team members.
If you want to guarantee success to introduce your new culture, the right way, why not reach out to a seasoned innovation service provider?
- At Innovolo, we live innovation every day. We constantly dream up new ways of being innovative, launch new products, and empower teams to be more innovative as a whole.
- We have a service option, the Innovation-as-a-Service model that enables strong collaborations between your company and our innovation experts. The end results are often remarkable: clearer roles and responsibilities, reduced risks, better staff engagement, and, most importantly, more sustained innovation!
- To learn more about collaborating with Innovolo, contact us.
…Did you know that a strong culture of innovation is just one method to support sustained improvements at your company? In reality, there is much more to the whole process, including ways to track and manage the actual innovation activities. These management principles are complementary to your innovation culture and together, they act as a driving force for your business improvements.
Below, exclusive to our readers, we put together our most succinct plan to implement some rigour in how you manage innovation. To put it in perspective: if the culture of innovation answers the question of “How will we engage in innovation?”, your management system answers “What will we do to be innovative?”.
Read more about our tried-and-true five-step process to implement a successful innovation management system:
The 5 Step Journey To Great Innovation Management
To be successful in the long term, putting a proper innovation management system in place is the way to go. Over time, the systematised and diligent attempts at improving products and the workplace will make your company more competitive overall.
Innovation management is a structured method to shape the way that:
- Innovation frameworks and strategies are developed;
- Assess the business fit of new ideas;
- The potential of new projects is analysed;
- Ideas get generated more efficiently and consistently;
- Innovation projects are completed with more rigour.
For small-sized companies, innovation projects are often one-off events. Once researched and completed and launched, the business growth is centred around those new product developments in a substantial way.
For medium- and large-sized companies, innovation can be systematised in a more substantial way through a tracking and management system.
In either case, whether big or small, a company that utilises a management system for their innovation projects is more organised, more productive and ultimately more successful than companies that do not systematise their new ideas.
In our experience working with companies in many different industries, there are 5 important steps to take if you want to implement a solid method to manage your innovation.
1. Convince Management and Executive Teams To Commit To Innovation
To start the practical process of innovation, you must agree to the conceptualisation of innovation first. And that starts at the top.
As a guiding principle, innovation must be adopted at all levels of an organisation – management included. Perhaps most importantly, the executive team and leaders of the company have to live, breathe and support innovation. Without buy-in at the top of the organisational structure, it is very difficult to let that enthusiasm and accountability for innovation trickle down to the entire staff chart.
To get proper buy-in from the decision-makers, try putting forward a well-developed and clear mandate for them to consider. Getting their signature on the goals, purpose, and expectations of a rigorous innovation system is one of the first steps to making tangible progress toward successful innovation. As a follow-up exercise, the specific framework and budgets can be agreed to by management once they sign off on the importance of the overall principle.
2. Agree To A Clear Innovation Strategy
After buy-in is achieved by the leadership team, it is time to further define the how and why of your innovation activities. That means that a proper innovation strategy must be put in place.
An innovation strategy is a commitment to a strong mission for innovation. It is a guiding document (or conceptualised principles) that includes the structure and activities that support the development of new ideas at the organisation – now and in the future.
A clear and concise innovation strategy should include the goal(s) of your organisation’s innovation outputs plus the important projects that will help you achieve them.
When in doubt about designing the strategy, try not to overthink it. The best strategies are simple and easily understood by everyone at the company.
3. Define The Way You Search For Innovation
Searching for innovation is an important part of managing the new product ideas and processes that can boost your organisational performance. If you look around at adjacent markets, what do you see? Likely, hundreds of new products are launched and dozens of new competitors enter the industry every year. These newcomers are aided by all sorts of new technologies and processes that are ripe for your own consideration, too!
To capture new ideas and compete with others, you need a way to seek out new innovations. An innovation management system must include the parameters for your search: the tools you will use, the trends you will monitor, the technologies you will watch out for and the markets you will assess.
4. Add Rigour To Your Brainstorms
When it comes to ideation exercises, there is none more accessible than brainstorming. By tailoring your brainstorming to your innovation strategy (step 2) and adhering to your search parameters (step 3), your brainstorming and ideation can be more powerful than ever!
Outsourced ideation workshops
As a trusted innovation service provider, Innovolo can help your company set up powerful ideation exercises. One method, the virtual ideation workshop, can help your company radically speed up your innovation game. In a facilitated session, you take a business problem and define unique solutions. Problem-solving comes from the people in the room in addition to other custom options that allow you to engage with a network of experienced professionals in the industry.
With flexible and cost-effective options for Innovolo’s service plans, a powerful ideation workshop is always within reach! Find out more at www.innovolo.co.uk.
5. Practice Good Innovation Design
Innovation best practices suggest that ideas should be managed from start to finish. All told, a strategic search for new ideas culminates in the design, prototyping, and launch of a new product or process. After launch, the “project” turns into a “component” of your business so should therefore be handed over to operational management. Then, your R&D teams and innovation managers are free to follow through with the next great product or advancement.
These pathways to innovation are important to help you streamline and organise your efforts. With a dedicated innovation management system, the pathways are clear and easy to follow!
Powering your innovation with a management system
An innovation management system, when put in place while fostering an environment of continuous improvement, is a powerful solution for increasing the innovation performance of your enterprise.
Therefore, the main “trick” to innovation that we want to share with you is two-fold:
- Empower your employees to be innovative through cultural transformations; and,
- Empower your processes to be innovative through a managed system for implementing new ideas.
These two combined forces can do wonders for the performance of your company.
Ultimately, innovation is a living process. It exists in the daily exercises and interactions at your organisation. Most times, all you have to do is tease out all that creative energy and bring it into the light.
Enacting these changes is no simple process. But it is a process that we hope you embark upon – for the sake of your company and for the sake of your future!
…If you ever get lost along the way and want to ask for directions, we are here for you. Reach out at innovolo.co.uk.