What It Takes To Build A Culture Of Innovation

Creating a culture of innovation starts from the top and spreads throughout the rest of an organization. Mediocre results happen when a company’s business model, strategies, processes, and structure are out of sync.

How you go about building your organization’s culture of innovation depends on your business makeup. It often requires a systematic approach to be successful in creating an innovative culture.

The world has changed and business has no choice but to adapt if it is to survive. So firstly, you must be open to change. Secondly, you must put away the notion that innovation only comes from top-level management and realize that it can come from anyone.

Innovation can come from your customers, employees, friends, and family. Can innovation come from children?

When K2LD architects told Golden Square Primary school students to design a new school, they were pleasantly surprised by their innovative ideas. The end result was a tree house inspired school with open, airy, and engaging space.

The power of collective minds is often underestimated by some organizations. When you ask people to rethink things, they usually come up with ideas that you may not have thought of.

The organizations that acknowledge that innovation doesn’t always come from the top are the most successful.

How Successful Organizations Innovate

how to have a culture of innovation

Listen To The People Around Them

Your employees may have insights and ideas that you can use. It is important that you invite them to share their ideas and listen to them.

A good way to foster this behavior is to implement an idea management system.

Embrace (And Learn) From Mistakes

Mistakes are ok when they lead to something good or a breakthrough. In fact, mistakes are a necessary part of innovation. Some of the greatest innovations were created by accident.

Organizations such as the Microwave, Play-Doh, Super Glue, and the Pacemaker are all the result of accidents.

Empower Employees

Remove the long approval process and empower your workers more. Long approval processes and disjointed or unconnected lines of communication may hinder innovation. Let your workers know that it is ok to make mistakes, providing that they can learn from it.

“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes”.  John Wooden, former basketball player, and coach.

Work With Others

You may collaborate with other organizations to develop new products . Working with external groups can lead to new ideas and breakthroughs.

Keep an Open Door Policy

Make your team aware that you are open to their ideas and suggestions. Sometimes innovation can come from the most unlikely sources.

How to Build a Culture of Innovation

Here are some great ideas for promoting a culture of innovation.

Define Your Organization’s Goals With an Innovative Intent

A mission statement is intended to guide the actions of your organization. This is where you need to state your innovation intent. Design your mission statement in such a way that inspires creativity and invites collaboration.

Take Google’s mission statement as an example. Google: “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”.

Google clearly defines how it intends to change the world in their mission statement, which also functions as a guide for their employees. If you ever wonder what to do next at the company that you are in, take a look at their mission statement and start generating ideas.

Foster an Innovative Culture

Give your people time off to innovate. For some of us, this may sound a bit counterintuitive but it is becoming a necessary part of business innovation.

3M and Google give their employees time off to experiment with new ideas. By giving your employees time off to work on something that they are passionate about, you encourage a culture of innovation.

Reward Success

Recognizing success is great and can help organizations encourage innovation. However, to truly cultivate a culture of innovation, you must also reward success.

You may give away something simple or grand, either way, the cost of the reward is often less compared to the gains that you receive. For example, the reward can be something like gold-colored medals that hold little value or a big screen TV with some value. Your focus should be to motivate and inspire more innovation.

Loosen Up, Don’t Try to Control Everything

Some organizations attempt to control the innovation process but this can delay innovation altogether. Try not to control the process and give your employees just enough support, as well as structure to help their creativity.

Have a “Drawing Board” Day

T.J. Cook, CEO of CauseLabs states that once every week he and his team get together for thirty minutes, where they leave work behind and just talk about ideas.

Most people have the capacity to innovate but workplaces do not support innovation all the time. According to a study by Gallup, only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged.

Since there is a constant need for companies to innovate, you can imagine how much money organizations might be losing with unengaged employees.

Make Show and Tell Compulsory

Encourage your team to show off their ideas and talk about it too. This is an opportunity for them to improve on their ideas. It also encourages innovation, which incidentally will help you foster an innovative culture.

How are you building a culture of innovation?

Do you have any ideas to add to our suggestions? Let us know in the comments.