I.N.N.O.V.A.T.I.O.N : Creating a Culture of Innovation

Innovation in business is the development of new customer value through solutions that meet new needs, inarticulate needs, or current needs in new ways. Innovation in and of itself is the key to a company’s survival. It is the lifeblood of a company.

That said, innovation is not always easy, and it does not come by itself. It requires a culture and desire to deliver that needs to be nurtured and reinforced by its leadership and a backed by a structured process approach.

The ten imperatives in Robert’s Rules of Innovation (RROI) serve as a guide for starting, nurturing and profiting from a culture of sustained innovation in the workplace. RROI gives easy-to-implement and immediately useful ideas for setting and reaching goals like bringing “at least one new product per year to market.”

There are three key steps to achieve the type of Innovation culture that inspires and creates intra-organization cohesion:

1.    Lead by Example: Since the best business outcomes are achieved by satisfied employees, Management buy-in and support of innovation and ideation is critical. Innovation certainly starts from the people at the top, who must take the responsibility into their own hands to become a champion for change. A strong leader in innovation must think creatively, understand the market, and not only endorse, but push for innovation within their team. Innovation leaders need to provide the right support, both material, time and emotional, to stimulate new product development (NPD).

2.    (Over-)Communicate:  One big corporate myth repeated time and time again, is that over-communication is somehow unhelpful, or ineffective. I am convinced that you can almost never over-communicate.  For leaders it is not enough to just know what to say—but how to say it in a way that persuades people to act. Articulate your grand vision and provide the compelling case for change. Keep it real. Keep it simple. When in doubt, communicate. Where there is a lack of clarity, ask for more clarity.  When you have completed something, send out a progress report. When something is falling behind, let the team know. How are you’re communication skills? Mindtools.com offers a quick quiz to test your communication know-how, and also provides tips to improve: take the quiz!

3.    Silo DemolitionOrganization Silos are when individual people, departments, or companies, conduct business in a vacuum without taking into consideration the impact their actions have on the entire organization. The best way to stimulate innovation is to take team members out of their regular comfort zones.  Knock down the barriers that keep silos apart by creating cross-functional teams between groups that don’t typically interact. Dr. Harlan Weisman, chief science and technology officer of Medical Devices & Diagnostics at Johnson & Johnson advocates connecting people who wouldn’t normally work together* to foster innovation. This kind of rich diversity, this mix of communities, leads to unexpected innovation in new and exciting ways.

Here are two great  www.InnovationCoach.com ® suggested resources to aid in building a business culture of innovation:

(Be sure to check out Robert’s Rules of Innovation  as well!)

JournalEngine™  provides your business with its very own, internal social network, and merges that with an online journal for each community member and a built in elearning platform that can deliver any content – in any media format – to your members automatically. Now you can provide ongoing training of employees to sustain the learning process, share best practices real-time, and provide instant, virtual coaching to team members world wide!

Brightidea’s product offerings include WebStorm, Switchboard & Pipeline, as well as the traditional Brightidea Platform. With WebStorm, companies gather and manage ideas from your customers and employees, even the general public. Switchboard is a high powered idea scorecarding application. And, Pipeline is simply the most powerful innovation project management software available.