In today’s world, the definition of business has surely changed. We live in a climate where transportation companies don’t own cars, accommodation providers own no property, the world’s most valuable retailer carries no stock and having your app on the home page is the most valuable real estate in the world. A solution to bridge the gap between a desire for innovation and its often-difficult execution must be figured out. If you don’t, you may well find yourself being pushed off the ‘home page’. The question then is what are you going to do to be innovative and remain a competitor?
Here are 5 tangible ways to create an innovative culture in your organization today:
It’s all about your people
For innovation to be a core part of your organization, it is important for everyone in the organization to live and breath innovation. Although building a collaborative culture of innovation isn’t easy, some major shifts in culture are surprisingly not so hard to implement.
Every employees needs to feel connected to the company. They must invest themselves, and they need you to appreciate how invested they are in it. By creating the kind of environment that recognizes people’s contributions, you can both enhance loyalty and attract the innovative potential of your employees, which enriches your brand equity and helps you implement change faster.
Recognizing innovation is critical but not solely enough to spark innovation. Recognition schemes have to go beyond the formal yearly awards.
To build an innovative culture you also have to support your team in learning the skills they need to be innovative. Innovation is a skill that can be trained and honed. Conscientiously investing in building the employee’s innovation capability is vital.
Walk a mile in your customer’s shoes
Understanding your customer psychology in order to spur new ideas and encourage customer centricity is of utmost importance. However, as businesses grow, the distance between the customer and the leadership can also grow and lead to disconnection from your customer’s needs.
When organizations work closely with their customers, they begin to identify their customers’ needs and what makes them happy.
CEOs themselves should spend at least 20 percent of their time connecting directly with customers and trying to figure out what would give them a deep sigh of relief. Walking a mile in your customer’s shoes will make you live their journey; then you and your team need to figure out how to make that journey more enjoyable.
Create a creative space
The most creative ideas don’t come from sitting behind your computer.
Most innovative companies use bold colours to trigger brain activities, open and flexible spaces to promote collaboration and embrace change. You want to create a space that helps your employees be stimulated, collaborate on solving problems, reflect on their ideas and most importantly enjoy their work-space.
Prototyping is all-important
Many of us spend a long time planning and designing before we get the finished product and most times, we are disappointed because the end product did not match what we had envisioned.
When we embark on designing a solution it is vital that we create a minimum viable product (MVP) as cheaply and timely as possible, test it, get customer’s feedback, figure out potential flaws, then improve on it. Repeat this cycle until you reach the final product.
Spending too much time on planning and putting the idea to the test or waiting for perfection is detrimental to creative business because it is expensive and the ambiguity makes the process ineffective. You can plan and execute a good product but prototyping gives you a game changing result. The quicker you get your employees to design a prototype, the faster you can begin to gather customer’s feedback and the better the end product will be.
Create a structure for unstructured pursuits
Finally, all this will work only when there is a space to deviate from the structured approach that you have been used to – not just physical space, but mental space as well. In other words, be intentional with your innovation. Including a plan for the test-fail-test-reiterate cycle.
Unfortunately, more than 60 percent of small companies do not allow mistakes because they are expensive. Growth is tied with innovation and innovation requires taking risks. Organizations should capitalize on the learning behind their shortfalls.
Risk-taking goes hand in hand with innovation and you can’t create disruptive innovation without individuals, teams and leaders taking risks.
Innovation? You have the answer now.