8 ways to transform your culture of innovation
The market changes, companies are forced to transform and pressure grows for executives in charge of the task. Efficiency in processes, costs and innovation are issues on every CEO’s agenda.
An article published in Forbes by Tendayi Viki, author of the business bestseller The Corporate Startup, highlights the importance of transforming innovation into something shared by the entire organization, and by the people who–in one way or another–are involved in the process of transformation in their different roles, profiles and hierarchies.
With this in mind, the author emphasizes that many companies invest quite a few resources on training in disciplines like design thinking or agile development of products. Although such efforts have their value, Viki believes they can fail if they are not backed up by the creation or promotion of a global culture of innovation.
Culture of innovation is synonymous with not leaving people and their ideas in the shadows.
How to create a culture of innovation.
The author identifies eight key points:
1. Focus on why (build the house from its foundations): before making any changes, we must identify the motivations that make those changes necessary. All transformations arise as improvements or reactions to something, and that reactive motivation drives your culture of innovation.
2. Discover your company’s essence, to transform it while respecting its idiosyncrasy. Although they help, the different innovation methodologies have no effect if they do not consider each organization’s specific features and adapt to them.
3. Innovation affects everyone, but it starts at the top. Not with ideas, which can be generated throughout the organization, but with support. If higher management does not trust and/or support a process, it will be almost impossible to carry out, especially if its origin lies in the organization’s base and envisages knocking down foundations.
4. It grows from the ground up, but passes through everyone. When the revolution begins at ground-level, employees can be tempted (perhaps due to skepticism, professional ambition…) to take their ideas to the company’s management, overlooking their middle managers, who are stereotypically seen as anti-innovation barricades. But the truth is that if the project is accepted upstairs, at some moment in time it will have to make it to the intermediate level, and the employee who develops it will have to report on its evolution to his or her line manager.
5. Detect (and implicate) early adopters. These are the people who understand the need for change and have the clairvoyance to think of solutions. People who represent the best stimulus and an antidote against the paralysis that can sometimes affects large organizations.
6. Begin with small victories, which minimize the small (or big) failures. Quick wins that may allow you to defend the validity and potential of an initiative before your company’s management, beyond words and promises. These small victories are an incentive for the development of any project.
7. Be firm in your principles, but flexible in your tactics. Rigidity does not mix well with agility. Hence the need for malleable or responsive tactics that allow you to ride out each moment and achieve your goals. On the other hand, the principles that guide changes must be clear and even, at times, immutable.
8. Winning over minds (and hearts) can sometimes be the most complex step, as well as being unavoidable: if people don’t believe in a change, that change is very difficult to implement.
Organizational changes, desire for transformation, ability to assume failures, open minds and the development of innovation ecosystems are some of the keys that define innovative organizations, according to the author.
They are all collective factors that highlight the importance of listening and putting the focus on people in the digital era.
Find out how to drive your internal culture of innovation.
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