There are many factors that contribute to the success of a business. Expert market knowledge, a forward-thinking growth strategy, a customer-centric approach based on providing value and full support of digital transformation all contribute to success. But there is one underlying factor that enables winning companies to surpass competitors and thrive – and that is innovation.
Innovation doesn’t always have to be focused on technical transformation or product innovation - it can also be transferred to cultural transformations, policy transformations and process transformations. Innovation begins with leadership teams fostering a transformational culture. We’ve highlighted 5 ways leaders can build a culture of innovation.
Be agile and don’t wait too long to take action on ideas
You must be willing to support action on creative ideas to develop a culture of innovation. This doesn’t indicate that every concept is brilliant or that every new product or service proposal should be prototyped. It’s important to allow enough time to acquire information, research and make an informed decision, but don’t linger on every idea. Be agile enough to make those decisions in a confident and methodical manner.
Start at the bottom and adopt a multi-faceted approach to innovation.
We frequently associate innovation with brainstorming sessions about the next best-selling products and services. However, for a moment, forget about the product and contemplate a holistic approach to innovation across your entire company. You can start by focusing on your baseline, including products, policies, procedures, and profit models. By breaking down your business into groups, you’ll be able to focus your attention on areas for improvement.
Empower your employees to drive innovation throughout the organisation
As a business value, innovation entails cultivating a culture in which every employee believes they have direct input. The most innovative leaders make wise judgments, but they also recognise that they can't being managing everything themselves. It’s important to listen, mentor, and trust your team to implement ideas that will transform your organisation and enable a culture of innovation.
Failure is part of the process, and you need to accept it.
Failure is the foundation of innovation. When it comes to cultivating an innovative culture and transforming your business, failure is unavoidable. There is always a degree of uncertainty, and this can sometimes cause innovation programs to break down. However, mistakes allow for variation and adaption, helping you find a better route to your goals. As a leader, understanding that failure will happen and dealing with it in a positive way is essential for successful innovation.
Ensure that feedback is frequent and constructive.
Innovation is born from a series of small observations, the development of ideas, and rigorous testing that provides you with feedback. The process of feedback, adaptation and improvement is essential to developing ideas that will provide long lasting value to your business. It's important to understand that many large projects go through this process thousands of times.