I don't want to over-complicate this, so I have deliberately left out innovation strategy, processes, creative tools, etc., and HR jargon and psychobabble about personality profiles of innovators.
Want to encourage a culture of innovation? Read on!
Why does your organisation exist and what is your contribution to society? The ‘why’ is important. Today’s staff don’t just want a salary; they want a purpose.
Don't get me wrong; you can have a brilliantly innovative culture without an inspiring purpose, but only up to a certain point. This is a topic I will address in an upcoming article.
To get you started, have a look at Simon Sinek’s video on the Ted channel.
2. Sounds obvious but make sure the people you recruit are the right fit for your business, and your business is the right choice for them.
When staff join your company, give them a warmhearted welcome. When they leave, wish them well and give them a send-off they will never forget.
Remove bullies from your organisation, and keep ‘command-and-control’ people in check!
3. Direct people's creative energies towards the business challenges the organisation is seeking to address.
4. Empower people to make decisions, take action and make a difference. Let your people grow.
5. Make it okay for staff to challenge and break the rules (within reason). Tolerate failure and learn from it (see Innovation Confessions).
6. Encourage diversity and different perspectives
Are diversity and inclusion necessary for innovation? Of course they are! The best results come about when different perspectives are considered - I have seen this time and time again.
More often than not, it's simple shifts in awareness that create the most significant impact. For example, I love the Women on Walls campaign which focuses on inclusion.
What images of people are displayed on the walls in the reception area, along corridors and in meeting rooms of your organisation? Look around and I am sure you would agree there is an opportunity for all organisations to create their version of Women on Walls, especially those involved in science, technology and engineering.
7. Promote collaboration and face to face interactions.
8. Hold people accountable for the promises they make, especially with regards to action and deliverables.
Innovation fails if people don’t do what they said they would do.
9. Celebrate success, hard-work and kindness.
10. Cut through any unnecessary bureaucracy that prevents you from being innovative.
On a final note, let me clarify an important point - a culture of innovation is not about having fun from 9 to 5 at the office!
By the way, if you need to grow revenue across the near, medium and long-term, and want help from an experienced and practical team, contact us!
Head of Innovation