To innovate means to make changes to something established, especially by introducing new products, services, methods or ideas. Innovation is what brought us life-changing products like the iPhone and The Wonder Mop. It created QuickBooks and Google Maps. It’s typically accompanied by massive success, for innovators themselves, and the companies they work for.
Yet oftentimes the corporate culture of those very companies can be the biggest challenge to innovation itself. It can stifle the creativity and enthusiasm of its most gifted employees, the ones who might, if given the chance, be the ones doing the actual innovating.
The key then to making innovation possible within corporate culture is to consciously create an environment that fosters it. And to do so, we have to first understand how the established culture of our company may be stifling it.
Ask yourself the following questions about your organization:
Are you questioning your assumptions when making decisions?
If not, perhaps it’s time to begin. Innovative cultures constantly question why things are the way they are, why they’re done the way they’re done and what, if anything could be improved.
Are your employees afraid to fail?
If so, it may be time to encourage and reward taking more risks. Innovation thrives where failure and risk taking are celebrated. If employees are discouraged from thinking outside the box and attempting new things, innovation will suffocate.
Are you in a habit of thinking in terms of innovation at all levels?
The habit of actively looking to improve things and constantly generating creative solutions across all levels of the organization can lead to massive innovation. When curiosity and the questioning of norms becomes an unconscious behavior, ideas and creativity flow.
Do you make innovation a priority by giving employees time to focus on it?
If your employees are overwhelmed in the day to day, there is little mind space to dream up new ideas and solve problems. Do they have time to give their minds a break and shift into unstructured exploration and creative thinking?
Answering these questions should give you insight into the level of innovation possible within your current culture and shed light on improving it if need be.
Innovative companies are successful because they make meaningful change and improvement in the lives of their customers. And that change is only possible when the culture of the organization allows for it, by encouraging employees to question assumptions, take risks and enjoy unstructured time to think and experiment.
Interested in learning more about how to create a sustainable company culture that drives innovation over the long term? Learn more about our custom training and talent management solutions, or contact us today.