First, it’s important to define what exactly innovation culture is. Innovation should be happening on a daily basis, conducted by employees constantly looking for opportunities and value creation. Innovation culture means embracing real innovation as a part of your core business activities. Building the new, different and most importantly - more efficient internal cultures, as well as the improvement of existing ones, is a way to support the actual innovation process. Let us look at five behavior models to encourage and promote innovation culture in a company.
1. Creating space for innovation
Start by building an environment for your employees to feel motivated to share their thoughts and ideas. A difference between traditional workspaces and innovative ones is that the traditional cubicles are made for employees to focus on their tasks and operative labor, whereas innovative workspace is all about doing creative work and collaborating with other colleagues. Open spaces have a positive impact on employee mindset and motivation.
Another approach to fostering innovation culture in your company is to create innovation labs. The company’s innovation productivity depends largely on the readiness of its employees to experiment, build prototypes, and investigate opportunities. You, as a leader, should support this experimentation culture. Of course, these labs shouldn’t be isolated from the rest of your company, but represent a ‘small break’ from a daily routine and a generator of fresh thinking perspective.
2. Embracing diversity
Diversity unlocks innovation in a way that couldn’t be possible without the mutual differences among team members. Appreciating cultural differences provides a wide range of skills useful in exploring new potential clients and eventually expanding the market as the result. Creating a friendlier company culture will attract more employees from various cultures and backgrounds. Also, bringing these people together in this type of environment makes them feel accepted and appreciated, making them more likely to stay with the company and contribute passionately to its goals. This also affects the company’s public image and attracts even more clients from around the globe.
3. Sharing ideas and collaboration
Encouraging your employees to take initiative and feed the organization with creative new ideas is a good start. What comes next is to ignite the collaboration among them in order to further enrich already valuable ideas, to feel comfortable about that and the right way to accomplish this is to promote innovation culture across your whole organization. It’s crucial for them to be motivated to share ideas, provide feedback, and collaborate. The company has to offer a channel for its workers to aim their ideas in the right direction and share it with the right teams and divisions. Giving them the proper space and motivation is a way to stream the creative process of discovering new values, cross-functioning, and presenting ideas to executives. You have to show that your company will always be ready to innovate but only with their assistance.
4. Introducing modern innovation tools
Success in these ventures always follows special processes, methodologies, and practices. Being a modern company, you’ll most likely use a set of IT tools to support your innovation efforts dealing with cross-functional team collaboration, ideation, prototyping, and user feedback. A very popular choice is innovation management software which helps you structure processes of ideation, build frameworks for prototyping, and perform testing with real potential users. The feedback that supports the entire procedure should be used to make informed decisions about the next undertaking in your innovation project. Also, instead of organizing large scale hackathons to generate large sets of ideas, it’s recommended to use online tools to save time and resources when addressing particular challenges.
5. Providing incentives and rewards for the innovation crowd
Creating a rewarding system is a good way to provide an additional boost of creative energy for your contributors. Besides bonuses and usual treats, innovation leaders can add new rewards for the sake of promoting innovation culture. Incentives represent a sustainable method to motivate employees to participate and work their way into your new innovation project. This also creates an ecosystem where individuals are engaged to share their ideas and speak what is on their minds.
Someone from your company should be assigned as an internal culture transformation leader to build teams around ideas and centers of competencies. It is important to have this person within your organization in order to begin the process of integration for all potent ideas. This way your team will be up to speed and everyone will understand their distinctive role within your innovation project.