In my experience, even the most well-intentioned business will struggle to evolve into a truly innovative company if it doesn’t incorporate key enablers for driving cultural change. Without attributes that breed creativity, transparency, and the open exchange of ideas and information – along with essential resources such as funding, staffing, and systems that drive and support breakthroughs – even the best innovation program will come up short. The following are measures that will pave the way for a culture that doesn’t instantly quash efforts to innovate.
There’s no denying that the kind of leadership your management demonstrates plays a starring role in changing your culture from the inside out. To drive innovation, leaders must be engaged and give their people the permission, courage, and encouragement to embrace creative thinking and pursue their ideas. They can also elect and train ‘innovation champions’ to foster these values and drive change at an employee level. If a leader is half-hearted about innovation efforts or doesn’t use tools and strategies to drive open and positive change, this only creates barriers for staff.
An innovation mindset
Cultural change means creating an innovation mindset that prioritises creativity and one in which staff members are encouraged to share ideas, challenge the status quo, and present different points of view. This mindset encompasses behaviours as well. For example:
- Are your employees curious and prepared to ask questions?
- Do they adopt a playful and open-minded perspective?
- Do they experiment and bring things to life through prototypes and storytelling?
- Are they collaborative?
- How do they react to making mistakes and failure? Do they see these as opportunities to learn and grow?
Squiz Roadmap offers an evidenced-based framework for putting this mindset into practice and sowing the seeds for an innovative culture.
A climate that fosters creativity
Driving cultural change also means establishing a cultural and physical environment that’s conducive to creativity and an atmosphere that inspires out-of-the-box thinking and new ideas. In this climate, people listen to and value such ideas, staff members are comfortable asking questions, and participants discuss ideas openly and constructively.
Further to this, drab cubicles and endless rows of computers aren’t good for collaboration, brainstorming, or genuine innovation. Mix up your workspace and add plants, colour, and breakout spaces to start seeing results.
A robust innovation program
It’s difficult to create a culture of innovation without having a clear process in place. The right innovation program can organise the way you capture, generate, and prioritise ideas while empowering decision-makers to refine and scale them for future growth. It should have a solid focus and link to your overall strategic vision.
It’s also imperative that sufficient resources are in place to achieve these goals. A budget that supports innovation efforts, time for employees to focus on idea generation, and the right tools and systems can help make a company’s vision a reality.
Embracing the key enablers of cultural change can get you one step closer to innovation, even if it doesn’t happen overnight. What steps have you put in place to transform your company’s culture, and how are things playing out so far?