Innovation Culture 101

I have discussed in one of my previous blogs the best ways you can build a culture of innovation in your organisation. Since you have already jumpstarted an innovative culture, we will now delve deeper on how to maintain and encourage this culture in the workplace. While writing my latest book, Innovation Wars, culture was one of the toughest chapters to complete. With very few companies making the leap, and even few confident they've done it successfully. No matter what the topic, cultural transformation is tough. Particularly when you are dealing with a traditional industry, or long employee tenors. The good news is its not impossible. Following the methods of innovation adoption, a company can plant the seed for cultural change.

The goals here a long term, so be patient. And they don't always work the first time. But with the right support, it can have a huge impact on the future proofing the innovative nature of the company.

  1. Focus on people that embrace change. Now that you’re trying to embed an innovative culture in your organisation, your people will also start embracing that change is happening. Recognise those who have easily adapted to the change. These people are basically your early adaptors who are not afraid to approach things differently. They are the ones who will ask “why is it like that?” even when a system has already been in place for so long.
  2. Reward innovations. Other than the safe space and free time your employees get to encourage creative thinking, the best way for those innovative ideas to unceasingly flow in is by a reward system. Other than the appreciation they will get, you will also be encouraging a healthy competition within.
  3. Fill in the gaps. When you’ve recognized those who are big contributors to innovative ideas and the strengths that your employees have, you must now evaluate those skillsets that need to be filled in. Do not be afraid to bring in outside talent and perspective to patch up the holes your organisation has.
  4. Look at the long term goals. Sometimes, leaders get discouraged supporting innovative culture efforts when they don’t see good results right away. But keep in mind that culture adaptation takes time, and you have to be patient in constantly implementing the culture of innovation. In the end, this hard work will turn into something fruitful.
  5. Don’t stop going out. Finally, as a head of an organisation, keep going out and interacting with your customers. I’ve emphasized before the importance of executive interviews in understanding your market. Keep in mind that everything changes over time, including your customers’ opinions. You have to keep your ideas and solutions as dynamic as possible.

How do you maintain an innovative culture in your organisation?