To embed innovation in a company, it is important to have the right culture. In other words, a culture of innovation. Here we have summarised exactly what this means, why an innovation culture is essential and how you can establish it with nine simple tips.
As an innovation software provider, we are often asked how companies can drive successful and efficient innovation management. Of course, issues such as networking employees, creating synergies, evaluating ideas correctly and quickly or celebrating successful ideas are central to this. That is why our software is able to do exactly that.
But software is only one tool to achieve something. In addition to the right tool, the basis for successful innovation management is a suitable corporate culture. A culture that encourages innovation and innovative thinking. The foundation of any successful innovation management is an innovation culture that is lived throughout the organisation.
Many companies are faced with whether innovation management software can have a lasting effect if the culture is not already in place. Or whether it would be better to work on the innovation culture first. But in reality, it's almost like the chicken and the egg question – which came first? We can't answer the chicken-and-egg question. But when it comes to innovation culture and software, we do have an answer: they grow together.
A culture of innovation can only emerge when initiatives and tools are in place, ideas are collected and evaluated, collaboration is allowed, and innovative approaches are encouraged. Innovation software can only be successful if it is used and people are encouraged to share their ideas. Successful innovation management is therefore a combination of the right tool and the social factor of culture.
A corporate culture always points the way forward. Every action is shaped by the fundamental, shared values within a company. This is why an innovation culture is reflected in all processes, goals, and strategies. And because the culture of innovation affects everyone in a company, it is also important that everyone does something to establish new values. Everyone can contribute to the fundamental shift in thinking from corporate culture to innovation culture.
Implementing cultural change in a company depends very much on the existing structures. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all blueprint for a successful innovation culture, as each company must identify and address its own unique potential and challenges. However, there are some general tips that can help facilitate the cultural change towards a culture of innovation.
Culture change for more innovation
Set clear goals
Clear goals and objectives make it possible to implement an innovation strategy. This will give rise to principles, guidelines, and rules that will help all employees find their way around. This also makes it clear to everyone how they can contribute.
In every company, there are people or departments that can provide support during a reorientation. For example, it makes sense for managers to get behind the changes, live them and communicate them to their staff.
No master has fallen from the sky – not even in the field of innovation. By creating teams or departments, participants can explicitly address innovation (and also digitalisation, as the two usually go hand in hand). They can also exchange ideas with experts or hire people with the right talents.
Learn new things
Broadening one's horizons can be very inspiring. For this reason, all employees should be given the opportunity to train and learn new skills. Another good way to develop new skills is to form interdisciplinary teams – this way you can learn about the work of other departments and take away a few things for yourself.
Create creative time
Creativity sometimes gets short shrift in the day-to-day business. This makes it all the more important to explicitly create time for people to be creative and develop their own ideas. Contributing to the company's success with their own projects increases commitment and motivation – and ensures that innovation becomes an integral part of all employees' values.
Entrepreneurial thinking and action should not just be the preserve of the C-suite. But how do you create and nurture an entrepreneurial spirit throughout your organisation? By giving employees more trust and decision-making power. The more independent and decentralised decisions are made, the more routine employees will become entrepreneurial – but first they need to be trusted to do so.
Mistakes and failures are normal, especially when trying new things. It is often difficult for companies to take this risk and allow mistakes to happen. But this is the key to innovation, because failure is frequently an indicator of weaknesses and obstacles – and ultimately a good starting point for learning and new ideas.
An overarching culture of innovation doesn't happen overnight – but once it's established, it has a positive impact on the future of the business. However, like any long-term investment, culture change requires the necessary resources and funding.
As with all change processes, a new culture does not happen overnight. It involves many small steps that need to be taken. That's why it's important not to lose patience. Change will come sooner than you think.
In summary, cultural change can only be achieved step by step. It is critical to have a clear goal in mind, to be patient and to be open to new ideas. If the right people are on board and the necessary resources are in place, nothing can really go wrong.