How to Drive Innovation at Your Organization in Today’s Environment
It’s no question that innovation is a key factor in a successful business. Very few businesses, if any, are able to remain profitable, grow, and thrive without innovating. Accomplished leaders recognize that their organization’s continued success and position in the market heavily depends on its ability to drive a culture of innovation. Innovation doesn’t just happen – it must be instilled in the culture throughout an entire organization, from senior leadership to the entry-level, in order to have a lasting impact. A study by Gartner found that 91% of marketers surveyed are leading and supporting innovation initiatives, and 62% said they are solely responsible for such initiatives, showcasing the increasing importance of innovation in today’s workplace.
“Innovation must be disruptive. And by disruptive, I mean disruptive. You gotta fracture and break the rules and disrupt.” – Howard Shultz, former chairman and CEO of Starbucks
Today’s business environment is very different than it was 50, 20, 10, even 5 years ago as a result of the pandemic, remote work, advancing technology, and the increasing importance of DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) initiatives, and many other factors. If companies are not able to adapt to these and future changing circumstances, they will likely face consequences (such as bankruptcy). In this article, you’ll learn how to drive a culture of innovation at your organization not just in general, but in today’s unique environment.
Allow flexible work options whenever possible
As a result of the pandemic and available technology, organizations and employees have realized the benefits of remote and hybrid work options. Various studies have found that distributed teams equal higher efficiency and innovation. It has also been found that companies that have highly engaged employees have 41% lower absenteeism, 40% fewer quality defects, and 21% high profitability. In other words, working remotely is effective and can drive a culture of innovation due to its flexible nature and high employee satisfaction and engagement.
Prioritize DEI initiatives
The US workforce faces grim figures when it comes to DEI, but companies across the nation have shown initiative in fixing the problem. Over the past several years, diversity-related job postings have increased significantly. For example, positions with the title “Head of Diversity” increased 10% since 2015. In the US, there has also been 30% year-over-year growth in diversity & inclusion job postings. Diverse teams are also more likely to drive a culture of innovation. A survey of employees in over 1,700 companies found that companies with an above-average diversity score ranked 19% higher in innovation revenue compared to those with below-average scores.
Utilize Innovation Training
Innovation training is an essential process for almost every company to implement in their workflow and operations. The training encompasses a human-centric approach that focuses on the needs of the customer as opposed to metrics or business goals. Successful teams want to see their company address market needs and evolve with our current times. Innovation training is a great way to show teams the company is always looking at ways to move forward, and also that employees play a prominent role in its growth. It teaches leaders and teams creative ways of thinking and working that push individuals to go beyond the status quo, and therefore improves the bottom line and result in more satisfied customers. It also creates better employee engagement and satisfaction. Innovation training will drive a culture of innovation, along with helping teams and organizations keep up with our world’s increasing fast-paced environment. Learn about our 5 innovation training tips here.
Promote autonomy within your team as much as possible
Autonomy breeds innovation. It also results in more productivity. A study of 307 firms on autonomy and innovation supported the following statements:
- “Allowing the staff to pursue their own ideas during work hours provides time to observe, experiment, and speculate with others. These activities are vital for innovation outcomes.”
- “Tightly defined jobs with low autonomy tend to encourage narrow perspectives.”
- “Individuals produce more creative work when they perceive themselves to have choices regarding how to go about accomplishing the tasks they are given.”
By encouraging your team to be autonomous, you are not only driving a culture of innovation but will likely also see increased employee engagement and productivity.
Have an appetite for risk
Taking risks should not only be tolerated but celebrated and encouraged. Driving a culture of innovation means adopting a more experimental approach to working. Accept the fact that not every idea will be successful – there will be some “failures” along the way to truly successful, innovative ideas. Explore ideas, prototype and test them often, learn what works, what doesn’t, and continue from there. Focus on what you can learn rather than becoming focused on first-time success.
Finally…check out our other resources!
Through our own experience and work in the innovation space, we’ve created and compiled multiple resources on this topic. To help get you started in driving a culture of innovation in your team and at your organization, here are a few articles we recommend checking out first:
- 5 Strategies to Promote an Innovative Culture: How to Create and Sustain a Culture of Innovation
- Innovation Exercises: 5 Ways to Spark Innovation on Your Team
- When Inspiration Doesn’t Strike: How to Overcome Ideation Block
- What is Enterprise Design Thinking? The Principles, Practices and Applications of Enterprise Design Thinking
- The Best Design Thinking Exercises for Each Phase of a Project
- 5 Facilitation Methods for Virtual Collaboration Training
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Driving a culture of innovation is more complex today than it was in the past due to many factors including, but not limited to, increased market competition, a distributed workforce and constantly changing technology. This means it’s more important now than ever before to innovate and stay ahead of the competition. Using the tactics outlined in this article is a great starting point to driving a culture of innovation and building great teams and products!
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.