We live in a world of imitation, misidentifying itself as a world of innovation! In the chaos of innovators and imitators, there are many organizations that are mechanically imitating each other’s best practices while we fail to recognize the genuine ones. Nevertheless, whatsoever, time-and-again, companies with the authentic commitment to take their stand on innovation has been rewarded for their breakthrough in the industry.
The millennials have always talked about the most essential ingredients for innovation, however, for generations today, the content has remained same: strategy, process, systems, leadership, process, risk, customer focus, speed to market, metrics, mass collaboration, technology, prototyping, market intelligence, and creative thinking. Although, all these elements are important, none of them can take root in your organization without one most vital element being in place – a determinedly created culture of innovation.
Herein, we take this opportunity to list out some of the essentials that need your heed to foster innovation at your workplace.
- Recognize innovation: Many a times, the success of your business depends on identifying, inspiring and supporting the genuine innovators in your team. Sometimes this is as simple as acknowledging an idea, while other organizations offer rewards or bonuses for innovative contributions. Make sure your employees know that innovation is valued and keep nurturing their belief.
- Foster Generativity: Training and development in the right direction is very important to reap on the collective talent of your team. Take the time to connect, mentor, coach, and develop your people. Challenge their thinking, behavior, inputs and strategies, in a constructive manner through the lens of innovation. Nurture your talent people to grow an eminent culture of innovation.
- Reward Failure: Rewarding failure is counter-intuitive. You need to acknowledge failure on the road of innovation. Failures that result from rapid prototyping, improving skills, learning and collaboration are important for building a culture of innovation. One of the reasons employees tend to not put-forward their ideas is that they don’t want to rock the boat. They just don’t want to be a failure if something doesn’t work out. Try to create a culture in your organizations where lessons learned from failures are rewarded. Ideas don’t always work the first time, tolerate mistakes and keep a note of things that won’t work, so as to focus on creating ways that could work!
- Encourage Experimentation: Foster the acquired courage to accelerate through failure, by building momentum and speed through new learning and skills. Organizations that value and prioritize experimentation will see results from those tryouts. Experimentation steers us to our ultimate destination through twists and turns, roadblocks, as long as we are learning with agility and courage. Leaders must recognize which of the rules, processes, behaviors and systems are acting as a barrier to experimentation and step-back immediately to make way for innovators to thrive.
Historically, and evidently, organizations have been lacking to acknowledge the innovative breakthroughs and the people whose efforts were essential in manifesting those breakthroughs. The endless demand for productivity drives most leaders in business to conclude that acknowledging and rewarding successes is a waste of time and money—a luxury no bottom-line-watching organization can afford. However, it all zeros down to one fundamental truth—people flourish only when their efforts are acknowledged. Recognize and reward people’s efforts, not only independently, but as an entire workforce. If you are thoughtful about creating a sustainable culture of innovation at your workplace, take the time to acknowledge your innovators. For their effort. For their collaboration. For their resilience. And for whatever return they can manifest.