Monday, June 10, 2013

How to Breed an Innovative Company Culture

As of late, innovation has become the corporate buzzword because it’s one of the biggest mysteries to business leaders. But, you can’t force innovation to happen. Instead, it’s about how you shape your corporate environment so that innovation is possible.

A new study from Accenture, “Why Low Risk Innovation Is Costly,” revealed that less than one in five chief executives believes their company’s strategic investments in innovation are paying off, while half said their companies were less likely to risk implementing breakthrough ideas. So, what are these unsuccessful CEOs and their people doing wrong with their strategic investment in innovation? Innovation only happens in the right environment, one where everyone is not only allowed to innovate, but they are encouraged to bring new ideas to the table.

According to PJ Chan, a senior engagement leader at Kotter International, a firm that helps leaders accelerate strategy implementation, here are six tips to help breed a culture with innovation in its DNA:

Innovation only comes by invitation. Innovation takes place when people are free to raise ideas and then implement them.

Innovation is not a solo sport. Many companies appoint an innovation department. The message this sends to your organization is that innovation is “their job” and “not mine.”  While an idea may come from one individual, it’s the cross-functional creativity  that brings innovation to life.

Encourage everyone to test ideas. If people wait for perfection before they put the idea to work, the effort will lose steam before it ever gets off the ground.

Value the lessons taken from failure and success. The idea is not to encourage failure but to foster innovation that leads to winning success.

Ensure this behavior gets modeled at every level. The senior leaders must be actively involved, not just mandating the change.

Resist the desire to project manage innovation. It cannot be generated by focusing solely on budgets, resources and timelines.


You can get innovative ideas for encouraging innovation. Consider offering awards for innovative attempts  or set an example, which teaches that success comes only by trying often, failing often, revising and trying again. 
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