The Digital Era has brought with it a new wave of competitiveness amongst companies. As a result, corporate norms are constantly broken every day. Organisations have moved away from the idea of staying afloat to staying ahead of their competitions. Whilst systems and other technological wonders can provide intensification, ultimately the distinction for corporate innovation stems from within for sustainable growth.
Shaping company culture to imbue innovation does not occur overnight, it takes intention and effort and it originates with its people and ends with them. Here’s why and how;
“You can’t solve a problem on the same level that it was created. You have to rise above it to the next level.” – Albert Einstein
Invoking a sense of curiosity within the company could be the most instrumental piece to inculcating corporate innovation and staying ahead of the competition. A corporate culture void of ideation is demoralizing and will eventually stagnate. We often hear “critical thinking” being thrown around – yet what does it mean to think critically? It often points to pragmatic solutions without innovative input. While this gets things done, what does it say about staying relevant?
A curious culture establishes a think tank of risk takers, challengers and go-getters. A team that is curious and motivated through challenges is prepared to defy corporate and situational norms and experiment. As market trends continue to evolve, innovation within the company should be capable to introduce new waves of ideas, products and services. The success of which resides in the details, curiosity ensures that these details are well-thought out and implemented.
This is valuable for the longevity of corporate innovation because employees are recommended to undertake projects with considerable depth and with responsiveness.
“When all think alike, then no one is thinking.” – Walter Lippmann.
While companies strive hard and fast to improve their systems to the state of the art technology, they also need to determine the skill sets that their employees could learn to get innovative. By fostering, stimulating and encouraging shared learning opportunities, organizations become resonant as they adjust with their employees aspirations and accomplishments. By paying attention to cultural and business needs companies can unite their people with shared ideals and goals towards innovation.
Ideation is birthed from acquiring and utilizing new knowledge with the old and is the cornerstone of a rich and modern organisation.
Community of Innovators
“You can invent alone, but you can’t innovate alone”. – Gijs van Wulfen
The sophistication of technology and its tools have pushed the limits of organizational innovation, begetting the question – have we lost sight of the people who drive its value? As companies struggle to set together the framework of innovation and forward thinking systems they often negate their most valuable asset – their people. Employees are the heartbeat of any company and their contributions big or small have to be acknowledged and cherished for innovation to hold weight. Establishing a diverse team within the organization creates a collaborative cocoon where employees with diverse skill sets and from different departments aren’t afraid to share and thus produce various insights to a shared project.
The best way forward to empower people is to reward their concepts and ideas and not simply their efficiency and success rates. Innovation needs people who are willing to think, act and do things differently and in order for that to happen your success rate may not be hundred percent. Failures should be embraced, ideas should be celebrated and performances should be appreciated – everyone needs a safe space to express, learn and make mistakes – let that be your company.
Ethos of Ideas
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.” –Peter Drucker
Innovation breeds a corporate culture that honors the labor of ideas. A company’s culture is held at the intersection of its past, present and future, all of which are cemented with traditions and concepts old and new. The corporate culture is a mind-set that has to be firmly entrenched in the ethos of the organization. At that place should be no barriers to innovation and aspiration. The right ethos is a bridge between innovation, productivity, customer relations and most importantly the value proposition of what the company means to its own people and others.
Last Word In!
“Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them”. –Steve Jobs
Producing a company culture that reflects creativity, invention, growth and tact seems easy enough, however many companies find it difficult to jumpstart their vision. Every company starts off as a beginner and becomes an expert over time. Innovation happens with making that first step.
You can find out more about what your organisation’s company culture is like, and each individual’s intrinsic work attitudes and motivations, by using Innovation Culture Mapping.