Building A Culture of Innovation That Sticks

Karina Keith

Everyone has ideas! Get the right climate to unleash them Everyone has ideas. Some are brilliant, some…not so much. Either way, many great ideas stay …

Everyone has ideas! Get the right climate to unleash them

Building innovation - kkEveryone has ideas. Some are brilliant, some…not so much. Either way, many great ideas stay as ideas and never become the next small fix to make the office environment click better, or brilliant new product. They stay as ideas because the work environment likely doesn’t encourage ways of improvement.

If you’re not convinced that innovation in your office is necessary, this might convince you:

“I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game—it is the game. In the end, an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value. Vision, strategy, marketing, financial management—any management system, in fact—can set you on the right path and carry you for a while. But no enterprise—whether in business, government, education, health care, or any area of human endeavor—will succeed over the long haul if those elements aren’t part of its DNA.” ~ Lou Gerstner, former CEO at IBM and author of Elephants Can’t Dance

In order to turn ideas into reality, innovation needs to be encouraged. In order to find out how to encourage an innovative culture, check out some articles I’ve found with great tips.

How to encourage innovation in your company

In this article, PJ Chan looks at tips to breath innovation into your company culture. I have summarized them here. To view the full list, read 6 Tips for Building Innovation into Your Company DNA

  1. Ask and encourage people for new ideas.
  2. Innovation is a cross-functional job, not just a one-man job. Stay away from having an innovation department or director. Otherwise, people will assume it’s not their job.
  3. Don’t let the perfect get in the way of your idea.
  4. Learn from your successes, but also from your failures, and apply these lessons to each new idea.
  5. Make sure the leaders aren’t just mandating the change, but are actively involved in creating and encouraging new ideas.
  6. Don’t project manage your way to an innovative culture. Focusing on budgets, resources, and timelines won’t work.


How the pros do build a culture of innovation

?What If! took 50 executives on a field trip to Facebook and Four Seasons to learn how they encourage innovation. Although these companies don’t seem like they’d have a lot in common, the executives found their culture of innovation to be similar. Here are the 6 lessons they learned on their field trip, I’ve shortened them considerably, read the full article Six Ways to Create—and Sustain—a Culture of Innovation for full details.

  1. Know thyself – establish a culture of innovation and stick with it. It’s not the same formula for every company.
  2. Innovation is business as usual – this is similar to #2 above. Innovation isn’t the responsibility of a department, it’s a way of thinking for the whole company. “When Facebook’s Berman was asked where the company’s “innovation team” sat, he was confused. “What do you mean? They’re all out there,” he said, waving his hands at the office.”
  3. Just do it – If an idea is easily implemented, just do it. Don’t sit around and debate it.
  4. Knock failure of its pedestal – When an idea doesn’t work, rather than calling someone out on it, they call it a glitch, not a failure and move on. Thereby disempowering the failure.
  5. Lead infectiously – leaders must communicate their vision clearly, both CEO’s at Facebook and Four Seasons do this my making it simple, repeatable, and relatable.
  6. Innovation is a human condition – innovation is not a rare quality, but it’s up to the organization to make sure it’s pulling these innovative tendencies from its employees.

Read more at ?What If!

Does your work environment encourage innovation. We’d love to hear how! Thanks for reading don’t forget to share/tweet/like our blog just underneath this paragraph. And don’t forget, we’re always here to help with your business efficiency needs.

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Karina Keith is a consultant with CornerStone Dynamics Inc. 'Katching up with Karina' blogs focus on the top web finds for the month. Aligning project goals along with truly understanding what motivates people to get their jobs done is what Karina does best.

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