Innovation culture basically refers to a workplace environment in which employees feel confident in developing and implementing new ideas and processes. For a company, a strong culture of innovation is essential to staying relevant in the market, gaining an edge over the competition, and even attaining market dominance.
5 ways to promote a culture of innovation
1. Freedom to innovate
First, you need to make the employees know that they are free to try out new things. You should act as a supporter of their ideas and give them the necessary freedom to try out those ideas. Do not obsess over deadlines and budgets initially or you will end up killing off their ideas. However, do give the employees a general framework of what they can and cannot do while making them accountable to the goals of your company.
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2. Being okay with failure
Let the employees know that it is okay to fail. The fear of failure can be so immense that it can end up damaging people’s plans. The pressure to succeed can force people not to implement some tactics that might have worked but come with a high risk of failure. However, it is these very high-risk plans that often tend to bring about the biggest benefits. Just be sure to oversee your employees’ activities so that their failures are kept within expectations.
Sometimes, people might have brilliant thought processes that could lead to innovative ideas. However, due to the lack of exploring any issue in a deep manner, their abilities remain hidden. Brainstorming is an excellent way to stimulate such people’s thoughts and promote innovation. When a group of people brainstorms to find a solution for a specific problem, their minds are going to be racing with new ideas. Conduct such brainstorming sessions regularly once or twice a month and you will surely see a strong innovation culture take root in your organization.
4. Disrupt hierarchies
Just because your organization has a hierarchy does not mean that people in higher positions are going to be more creative and innovative than those in lower positions. There can be junior employees who have excellent ideas. However, the chain of command might prevent them from actually expressing it to you or someone higher up who matters.
As such, it would be a good idea to share innovative ideas without the burden of hierarchy. Allow employees to talk with the company’s creative head without having to go through three or four managers who might even try to block the person out of jealousy or hatred. When employees realize that they are free to communicate with higher creative authority without any discrimination, they will feel respected and will come up with even better ideas.
5. Flexible decisions
Innovative ideas can require that you change your existing or imminent decisions regarding your business. If you have developed a plan and blindly remain committed to the plan, without being willing to change it even though a new idea presented is extremely promising, you will basically be giving employees the idea that the organization is inflexible and not willing to adapt. You should always make sure that business plans are flexible enough to absorb new ideas and processes. When employees see that their suggestions are being adopted and implemented quickly, they will be inspired. Slowly, a culture of innovation will naturally build up in your workplace.