Building and Strengthening a Culture of Innovation
The word ‘innovation’ is generally defined as the introduction and/or use of some new idea, device, or method with the goal of producing positive change. Many companies are working towards creating a culture of innovation so that the byproduct of improved collaboration, discussion of new ideas, and goal-making is increased exposure and profitability. But, before a company can reach those goals, they must first agree on who they are and what changes are needed to make a powerful impression in the market. With so many minds attempting to come together and agree on a united vision of the company’s future, tech tools can certainly support and promote this process (think interactive displays, annotation software, and polling apps or tools).
“When you need to innovate, you need collaboration.” – Marissa Mayer
With leadership’s dedicated support and commitment to change, team members can engage in conversation that will help them dig deeper into who they are as a company. For example, using tech tools, such as interactive boards or projection hardware and presentation software and tools (Qwizdom and OKTOPUS both offer collaboration and polling software), list answers to key questions such as:
- What value do we bring to our customers? How?
- What can we do that no other company can do?
- What makes us different than other companies in the same, or similar, market?
- What are some challenges unique to our company?
- What has worked for our company in the past?
- What hasn’t worked and why?
- Where could there be a struggle to change and innovation?
These discussions can lead to connections between colleagues and points to explore for improvement. By finding common ground, while building buy-in from all members, change can include how members see themselves and their potential in the company. Understandably, it can be difficult to schedule these types of integral conversations, but the value has exponentially positive outcomes. For example, set up a simple slide presentation with some of the questions listed above.
Using software, such as ActionPoint and OKTOPUS, add question types such as a rating scale or Yes/No, to gauge how team members really feel about the current company culture. Data can instantly be viewed, leading to meaningful conversations about how each member feels the company can reinforce their positives and move towards creating a powerful, and achievable, vision for the future.
“It’s important to create a culture of innovation – one that both values and rewards risk.” – Barbara Landes
Besides strengthening innovation culture, important results from these conversations include, but are not limited to:
- the sense of validity each company member feels, knowing that their voices have been heard
- greater willingness to share ideas, especially when contributions are positively recognized
- clearer identification of each member’s strengths and how they can best be utilized
- a supportive environment that welcomes, and fosters, creative thinking
- stronger collaboration on the execution of new ideas or creation of new products and services
The flow and progress of conversations can be recorded and saved for future team discussions. For example, OKTOPUS for Business has tools to support conversation, collaboration, and connections in a team. In addition, as individual team members invest time in research and developing new ideas and products, these can be easily shared with others who can test and provide constructive feedback. Watch: OKTOPUS Annotation Software
“Regular brainstorming is as critical to an organization as regular exercise is to your health. It creates a responsive innovative culture.” – Tom Kelley
Revisiting the questions asked to start the change process is helpful for measuring how much the company has embraced a culture of innovation. Seeing measurable progress can build confidence and team members are more willing to share how innovative the company has become, including with outside stakeholders. Being associated with an innovative company that has a strong mission is very attractive and draws in more who are interested in what the company has to offer. Producing short videos of these positive changes can be shared with long-time and potential partners to boost the confidence in the company’s willingness to adapt and evolve.
“The heart and soul of a company is creativity and innovation.” – Robert Iger
Creating a culture of innovation is not a new idea since companies regularly look for ways to broaden their customer base and strengthen their foothold in the market. The challenge can be how a company sees the importance of fostering and nurturing innovation culture. The time and effort invested in doing this results in identifying and actively working with the company’s mission, purposefully working towards the end goal, and helping each member of a company’s team grow creatively in attaining that goal. An innovative company culture can only lead to success.