The benefits of innovation are seen every day by some of the top organizations in the world. While simply hiring some of the brightest and best minds may appear to be the way to tap into the benefits of innovation, it all starts with the company culture. Simply put, in order for your organization to foster innovation, the company culture must exude innovation at its very essence. The following information explains 7 ways you can foster an innovative company culture.
1) Foster Lateral Innovation
Since innovation doesn't always come from top to bottom, you must create an environment for innovation to flow multilaterally. Simply put, in order for your employees to be able to effectively communicate and innovate with others, you must foster this by encouraging a Winning Collaboration. “Collaboration is the core functionality of innovation and breakthrough thinking in an organization,” says Brett Richards, a senior facilitator at the Schulich Executive Education Centre and president of Connective Intelligence. “Organizations are now requiring people to collaborate better across functions within the organization, but also to work better with external partners.” One idea is to start with an open door policy, which allows employees to freely share with management and cultivate new ideas. As a result, you will be tearing down the walls, the employees will undoubtedly begin to tear down walls as well.
2) Make Time for Free Time
Simply put, innovation requires time to develop. Since everyone feels so stretched putting out fires and managing short term goals, they fail to think about the future. Instead, management can foster an innovative corporate culture by following the example of Atlassian, a software company, which gives employees “ShipIt Days“. These days are paid time off for employees to work on any problem they deem significant. As a result, the employees must provide the company with something pertinent 24 hours later.
3) Step Up and Step Down
When you offer your employees free time to play or experiment with the newest products, technologies, or processes, you can effectively foster an innovative company culture. However in far too many cases, companies attempt to engineer the process too much. Instead, it's best to provide support and structure without attempting to stifle the innovative culture.
4) Measure What Matters
In order for you to improve your level of innovation, you must be able to measure it. While many companies have no problem actually developing new ideas, the problem is taking those ideas and making them into something tangible that delivers impact. To solve this problem, you must know what to measure.
5) Give Rewards
Undoubtedly, fostering a company culture of innovation can be bolstered by throwing a little cash in the equation. When the employees are rewarded with large bonuses linked to revenue or equity in the company, they are much more likely to be innovative.
6) Create New Stamp
Since every company culture should be different, you should cultivate a new and unique system. As a result, you should be very thoughtful to align the company's goals with the values of the company. In each instance, it should be rewarding and easy for those with dynamic roles to effectively influence the company culture.
7) Use Symbolism
While symbols come in various forms, they represent the underlying organizational values. You can effectively use symbols to create an innovative corporate culture, such as success stories, value statements, posters, acronyms, catch phrases, and more. When you intentionally create innovative symbols, you essentially cultivate your own innovative culture.
When looking to spur innovation, it all starts and ends with the corporate culture. By utilizing one or all of the previously mentioned tips, you will be placing the building blocks for a more progressive, profitable, and innovative corporate culture. Distracting