How to Create and Sustain a Culture of Innovation
Everyone wants to innovate and promote innovation in some capacity these days. After all, the competitive landscape in most industries is only getting, for lack of better words, more competitive, Innovation keeps organizations in front of the curve and well-positioned to maintain long-term success. Create and sustain a culture of innovation for teams and individuals in your company to streamline growth and prosperity.
In this article, we’ll evaluate 5 strategies that will help you implement an innovative culture throughout your team. Everyone from senior leadership to entry-level hires is essential to driving innovation. Each person has a unique perspective and therefore can bring new, different ideas to the table regardless of title or seniority level.
Many companies try to build an innovative culture by stocking the company fridge, having a ping pong table and some company-sponsored happy hours, and a flexible work from home policy. That’s not to say those aren’t all great perks to have (and probably help with team bonding and employee happiness) but alone they won’t create and sustain a true culture of innovation. Although there’s no single “right” or sure way to drive innovation, here are some strategies you can apply to create and sustain a culture of innovation at your organization regardless of industry or vertical.
Innovation training is an essential process for almost every company to implement in their workflow and operations. Not only does it teach leaders (and teams) creative ways of thinking and working that push individuals to go beyond the status quo, (and therefore improve the bottom line and result in more satisfied customers), but it also creates better employee engagement and satisfaction. Innovation training will create and sustain a culture of innovation, along with helping teams and organizations keep up with our world’s increasing fast-paced environment. Successful teams want to see their company address market needs and evolve with our current times.
2. Empower Your Team
The word “innovation” is making its way into more and more mission statements, company core values, and even the corporate C-Suites (aka the rise of the Chief Innovation Officer). As more organizations adopt innovation as a core value and key concept, it’s important to not only mention “innovation” on your website but create a real culture where your employees feel empowered to think independently and find new ways to solve problems. Great leaders make smart decisions, but they shouldn’t do it all alone – empower employees to make decisions on an individual and team basis, rather than concentrating decision-making authority at the top. This will help create and sustain a culture of innovation. Also – ask for feedback. Asking your team’s input and critiques will help ensure that ideas are aligned. The effort will ultimately empower your workforce to offer more ideas and ask more questions, leading to increased all-around productivity. Collaboration and diversity of thought are at the heart of every innovative company. And if you are looking for some ways to spark innovation with your team, check out these 5 innovation exercises.
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3. Define (or Redefine) Your Innovation Success Metrics
Measuring the success of innovation and ideas is much more difficult (and different) than measuring something more definite, such as the return on advertising spend. Therefore, first understand that new initiatives can’t be expected to perform at the same level as other activities that have been utilized for a long time. Give new ideas time and a chance to prove themselves. Create and define metrics specific to the innovation process rather than reassigning success metrics from other programs. This goes for people too – create a safe space for experimentation. For example, allow time and space for team brainstorming and discovery; potentially even consider aligning employee goals with innovation vs. hard sales or profit targets and understand failing is okay. Encourage your team to be bold and push the boundaries. If you’re not failing, you may not be innovating much. Focus on what you can learn rather than becoming focused on first-time success. Creating this space for your organization is another way to sustain a culture of innovation.
4. Be Agile
To truly create and sustain a culture of innovation, don’t be afraid to take action on innovative ideas quickly. This isn’t to necessarily say every idea is a great one or every new product concept should go directly to prototyping, but make informed decisions as quickly as possible (whether the decision is to invest more time and resources in an idea, or not) in order to keep learning and moving forward.
Innovation facilitation and training can feel intimidating. We offer expert training to help individuals, teams, and companies build the skills they need to design magical meetings, transform meeting culture, and run exceptional events, both in-person and virtual. Having an unbiased third-party perspective can make innovation training organized and engaging, and help create, promote and sustain a culture of innovation on your team.
Does your company need Innovation Training? We can help!
Voltage Control offers a range of options for innovation training. We know that no two teams are alike. Companies are complex with their own unique set of structures and company culture. That’s why we build and curate custom workshops to find solutions based on your team’s exact needs.
Voltage Control’s experts will guide you through your choice of experiential, interactive learning workshops, and coaching sessions where individuals and teams learn and practice how to successfully apply the best of today’s innovation methodologies and facilitation techniques to any business challenge. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to learn more about innovation training, design sprints, or design thinking facilitation.