Competition in the dynamic global marketplace requires that organisations are agile, responsive and innovative. Clients want customisation and personalisation, employees want engagement and collaboration; overall stakeholders want information sharing, insight and interaction
Building a corporate culture that values collaboration and innovation will help the organisation to optimise talent, strengths and creativity. The best way to kick-start culture change is to talk to stakeholders and involve them in the strategic process.
Clarify aims – affirm that collaboration is sought, that innovation and risk-taking are encouraged, and that input is welcome from everyone and the organisation will facilitate team building and foster engagement.
Identify talent – understand where your talent, high potential and strengths reside and proactively encourage participation and collaboration.
Cultivate potential – build a learning organisation, involve employees and encourage their input with a view to fostering ideas, perspectives and strategies that enable the organisation to compete in a tough environment. Include everyone at all levels and expect challenges.
Career support – help staff identify to manage their careers to meet their aspirations and expectations, provide development opportunities and explore innovative ways of working and collaborating.
Value collaboration – show all employees that their insights are important will foster loyalty and engagement as well as effective collaboration.
In order to innovate it’s important to be open to new ideas, to encounter and understand different concepts and new perspectives from a range of sources and then combine what you learn to design new solutions to current challenges. There are lots of things to learn and plenty of ways to learn and practice.
Engage and enthuse
The Sloan MIT Management Review says that an innovative climate “cultivates engagement and enthusiasm, challenges people to take risks within a safe environment, fosters learning, and encourages independent thinking.” In other words, build a climate of trust where people are not afraid to volunteer ideas and not afraid to challenge despite the possibility of failure.
Collaboration at all levels is key. Seth Godin comments that “Ideas spread horizontally” so, if you can encourage input from throughout the organisation it will broaden the scope of possibilities available. Don’t just rely on those who are seen as “innovative thinkers” as ideas can come from anywhere, diversity is a key component of an innovative culture. Build internal networks to communicate and explore the options available.
Encourage and empower all employees to contribute and explore ideas with an open mind. Give staff the freedom to organise themselves and to explore new ways of doing things, to seek and try alternative solutions and to think around problems. Focus on results not process, aim to work together to generate and explore new ideas for effective business solutions and increased productivity.
Trust is the foundation of working relationships and facilitates communication and collaboration; it’s essential for creating an environment where innovation and creativity flourish. Curiosity, risk-taking and a willingness to explore and experiment are also crucial to a culture of innovation.
An innovative culture in the workplace facilitates engagement, energy and empowers employees to tap into the full potential of their talent.