Innovation is one of those buzz words that executives and companies are touting. Of course we all want to create new products and enhance value of existing products. How do you do that though? The first step in being successful in this arena is creating a culture that is geared towards innovation and new products.
Changing culture unfortunately is one of the most difficult things to do as a business though. It starts from talking-the-talk and walking-the-walk by empowering leaders and managers with the processes and resources to help drive your culture and encouraging them when they do. Innovative corporate cultures first ensure that a solid new product development process is in place. Then these companies will encourage employees to take balanced risks. Put in place tools to help identify and measure markets and new products. There are many other steps to reflecting the cultural shift but the key is making that cultural shift.
Some things leaders can do to help change culture include:
- Senior leadership recognition: Each time senior leaders speak to employees they ensure consistent messages towards innovation and new product development culture. Include celebrations of balanced risks taken whether successful or not. Reward and highlight risk taking that ends in failure.
- Cross-department and cross-functional teams: Establish cross-department and cross-functional innovation committees towards new product development. Periodically move people in and out of these committees to ensure that ideas remain fresh.
- Ideation platforms: Implement idea catching and voting platforms like Brightidea or Spigit and establish framework to ensure utilization. Reward employees and customers for participating in bringing ideas forward to these platforms whether it is intrinsic or extrinsic rewards. Highlight people’s contributions here and emphasize the importance of participation.
- Innovation centers: Have an innovation center that focuses on driving innovation and an innovative culture. Ensure that your top talent is involved in these innovation centers. Cycle people in through these innovation centers to ensure ideas don’t get stagnant.
- In-house disruptive innovation businesses: For larger organizations, establishing self-contained business units geared towards disruptive innovation where metrics and rewards are measured differently. Read The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen to learn more about disruptive innovation. Establishing these disruptive innovation business units is a true measure of innovative companies.
Changing culture in organizations is something that needs to occur from top down but important visible and tangible things need to occur to change the culture. These changes do not occur overnight and the items above are just a few of the ideas that can help towards the cultural shift. Good luck in your cultural shift – it will be the hardest part but rewards are priceless.
Have an awesome week and remember to do something today to supercharge your success.
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