An innovation culture begins (or ends) in your organisation with the values lived, unconscious messages delivered and the behaviour of its leaders
An innovation culture begins with the organisation adopting an innovation mindset, learning to see the world in new ways. Your organisational values shape the majority of your organisation’s priorities and decisions. The Organisational values you live will shape how you spend your time and money. To create an innovative culture employees need to have a clear sense of what is expected of them, your long-term goals, and values.
Your values should not only be promoted through your annual reports and beautiful artwork, but be manifest in how members of the organisation behave and spend their time. It is not too late to redefine your values. Share your big visions with employees and ask them to take part in their creation.
An innovation culture comes from consistently being able to do the following:
- Celebrate uniqueness. Every organisation’s culture is different so when you’re making innovation part of your culture you can’t use a rubber stamp. An innovative culture requires a thoughtful approach which aligns the values of the organisation with their goals. Reward the behaviour that augments the innovation culture you’re trying to cultivate.
- Give employees a voice and LISTEN. Employees often have tremendous insights and ideas that lead to new innovations if we will but ask.
- Avoid assumptions. The best ideas don’t always come from experts or the leadership of an organisation. Sometimes the most effective innovations come from novices and those who work with a process every day. Open-minded organisations look for ways to convert ideas born of frustration (with a product or process that does not work) into marketable products.
- Work together. No person or organisation has all the answers to innovation. Collaboration with others (internal or external) can bring new perspectives and ideas to the innovation process. Other teams, business partners, universities and even government agencies.
- Create a shorter process. A long approval processes for ideas can impede innovation. Organisations that can’t create a flat management structure can achieve similar results by creating innovation channels or by empowering workers to act independently.
- Celebrate failure. Some of the greatest innovations were built on the back of failure. Unintended side effects can lead to breakthroughs if we don’t judge too quickly, but search for lessons learned and other ways to see the event. e.g. the discovery of viagra (a side effect of a medication designed for another purpose).
Create a culture of innovation by learning to see the world in new ways.
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