How companies can nurture innovation and motivate their talents to bring innovations forward?
Each company is destined to get the results it gets. What I mean by this is that poor organization, lack of solid and sustainable innovation culture lead to poor results, and more than before, to a company’s trouble or death.
Smart business leaders shape the culture of their company to drive innovation. Success and constant positive results come from the implementation and execution of strategies, business models, structure, processes, technologies and incentive systems that encourage innovation.
1. Define your company’s mission around innovation
Many companies don’t have a mission statement, but for those which do, often times statements use generic terms, such as “best product in the world”, “best customer service”… They do not inspire employees to innovate. A strong and inspiring vision should be framed around how the company works to change its customer’s world, for the better.
2. Create the structure to allow employees to experiment new ideas with unstructured time
Successful innovative companies give time to their employees to get away from their daily tasks, to work on personal or company projects not directly related to their work. Then tap into this creative process.
3. Recognize employees’s contribution to the innovation process
Some companies offer monetized incentives. It is hard to assign a $ value to innovation; this is good for sales teams. Some companies give annual innovation awards; it is a good initiative for a short term, but it creates more competition than it encourages collaboration and creates emulation.
4. Return to the past
No new idea is completely original. Some concepts may not have materialized for various reasons, but it is always good to look at the past and understand why it did not work out. You avoid future mistakes, you can find ways to better the products (new technology, new process, new skill…). Start-up companies which by definition don’t have a past can look at what’s be done in the industry, what did not find success, and bounce off this to create something new.
5. Pay attention to culture, not trends
Culture is mass ideology – a system of values and beliefs that runs so deep we don’t question it. There’s an American belief in personal invention and reinvention. You see that in social products like Snapchat and Instagram, which allow us to invent ourselves in the moment. They may seem like a trend. But they reflect a deep underlying value.
6. Continuous education
Self-development is the key to employee’s success. In the same system where company should create a structure for unstructured time, those same companies should create time for continuous education. Allow employees to seek new interests, learn and develop new skills.
7. Allow failure
The essence of innovation is that it takes multiple experiments to successfully create new products, solutions, services. Failure is part of the innovation process. When employees are not afraid of failure, they will feel empowered to take risks and be “crazy”.