Creating and driving a culture of innovation in the workplace

We live in a modern business world which is competitive and creative than it was in the past. A more pragmatic system of promoting creativity in the workplace is to assemble an innovation team tasked to come up with ideas and improving a more distinctive aspect of the workplace.

Innovation is not just limited to a group or department, it can occur anywhere within the organization. It makes workflow processes easier with a new technical approach, cost-efficiency with a new solution, or finds a way to make a task more productive.

The bottom-line in becoming an innovative company is to create a culture of innovation in the workplace.

“INNOVATION IS THE PROCESS OF TURNING IDEAS INTO MANUFACTURABLE AND MARKETABLE FORM”
— WATTS HUMPREY

A culture of innovation can be a difference between success and failure in today’s competitive environment. Fostering a culture of innovation comes with a preloaded benefit of improved employee engagement and better solutions to a business challenge.

The key to creating a culture of innovation in the workplace is to make innovation a part of day-to-day work life. Employees feel challenged, engaged and valued when they are encouraged to innovate and in turn, positively impacts on employee performance and job satisfaction.

According to recent Accenture study, over 90% of executives think innovation is key to their business success.

A major challenge for any organization is how to build a culture of innovation. There are many strategic ways to influence the flow of innovation and ideas at the organizational level.

Here are few ways to bolster innovation in the workplace:

Choosing the trailblazer

Identifying the right leader to blaze a trail for innovation at an organization level.

This is one of the crucial steps for organizations who are looking to drive a culture of innovation. Driving innovative culture is not similar to running a business, it needs a strategic approach that encourages the employees to participate in innovative initiatives. Trailblazer can:

  1. Be a frontrunner with imaginative thinking, holistic approach and a fine balance of intuition and rational judgment.
  2. Create positive belief about bringing innovative changes in the organization.
  3. Create dynamic work culture where innovation is the only way to enhance productivity.
  4. Build in the confidence to express creative ideas.
  5. Encourage innovative ideas to take risks and learn from failure.

Read to know: How to drive innovation from within the organization

Build innovation culture

Learning processes are critical aspects of innovation. The journey of innovation that results in a sustainable, enterprise-wide adoption depends on multiple factors.

Innovation is everyone’s job. In order to make it everyone’s job, organizations need to develop key objectives transforming the company to meet the challenges of a fast and challenging future.

Any organization that is about to build a culture of innovation needs to establish: processes for high-quality learning conversations, socializing platforms, idea management tools to gain a significant improvement in creating and capturing ideas.

“Ideas Are The Lifeblood Of Business. Capture Every Fleeting Idea And Drive For Change” – Richard Branson

Idea management tools like Wave play a great role in fostering employee engagement and involvement using techniques like gamification.

Read More: What Is An Idea Management Software & Why Your Business Needs One

Collaboration

Big wins of tomorrow fundamentally require world-class teams operating in perfect lockstep. Similar minds never produce anything phenomenal. Companies always have a demanding need to work with the unusual suspects. The collaborative approach is remarkably effective at building consensus, increasing levels of motivation and participation, pulling teams together, and training members. It provides a productive deck for experimentation, resulting in more creative ideas.

Introducing collaboration tools in an organization bring people together and provides a modern workplace for experimentation, sharing ideas, building unity and fostering innovation culture.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning applications are taking the collaboration to the next level and allowing humans and machines work together enhancing productivity. Mesh an AI-powered intranet drives collaboration and helps capture effective ideas from employees within the organization.

Invest time in the creative nourishment

The soul of innovation is achieved when organizations are able to build a way for employees to encourage innovative work culture in their workplace. Organizations innovation capacity comes down to its talent pool and its commitment to building knowledge and competencies one individual at a time.

Don’t just address the importance of creativity, demonstrate how does an innovative culture make an organization more effective and innovative ways to find creativity so that they can implement innovation at work.

For example, organizations can dedicate a day to motivate employees to experiment with creative ideas besides their actual job work.

Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin wrote in their 2004 IPO letter that “We encourage our employees, in addition to their regular projects, to spend 20% of their time working on what they think will most benefit Google”.

Google was the first company to create a business based on innovation. It allows its employers to dedicate 20% of their time to personal projects. Employees who have an idea not related to their job will focus 5-10% of their time on a personal project until they demonstrate the impact of the idea. This initiative has generated some of Google’s most successful products including Gmail, AdSense and GoogleTalk.

Read more: 6 easy ways to capture ideas from employees

Respect failure

Failure is part of the innovation and learning process. Companies should make sure that not every idea will be a success. The essence of innovation is that it takes multiple experiments to successfully create new products and solutions. Organizations should respect every failure, when employees don’t have fear of failure, they will take risks for innovation and come up with great ideas.

As risk and return are the two faces of the same coin, organizations looking for higher ROI need to drive the culture of taking the risk. To reduce the chances of failure, organizations need to take a calculated risk.

However, innovation is not about failure but more about the frequency of trial. For example, people or companies like Walt Disney, Arianna Huffington, Steve jobs and many others have built on their failures.

“The phoenix must burn to emerge”
– Janet Fitch

Recognize and reward innovative talent

An organization has to focus on the effort involved by an employee in the innovation of ideas and reward to drive and create a culture of innovation in the workplace. This way employees get motivated and keep posting their ideas.

The reward system must be designed in such a way that risk taken to create an idea should be valued more than the outcome (from failure). Here are few guidelines, that can be used for designing reward system:

  • Reward by performance evaluation program focused to encourage innovation.
  • Recognize and reward for failure which is learning for future.
  • Recognize people in front of group, leaders, large gathering etc. for motivating other employees to innovate.
  • Create an accelerated career growth plan for leading innovators.

According to The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2017, Millennials want to work in places where they feel empowered and accountable – where they feel they can make a difference and have an impact.

As organizations focused to prioritize developing an innovative work culture, it is important to consider implementing the right strategies to bring solutions for business challenges. Integrating an idea management software into the digital workplace can capture, collaborate, evaluate and select ideas that will make a great difference.

Read more: A Buyer’s Guide to Choosing The Best Idea Management Software

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