Businesses need to continually exploit new ideas and innovation to improve processes, bring new products and services to market, increase efficiency and ultimately boost competitiveness and profitability. Therefore, in our disrupted and highly competitive world, building an organisational culture that stimulates creativity is a critical component of success and sustainability.
With employees a vital asset in generating new ideas, companies must ensure they get the right culture of innovation to maintain ongoing originality and deliver positive business outcomes. This innovative culture allows them to identify and embrace new ideas – whether a single major breakthrough or a series of smaller, incremental changes.
So, building a sustained corporate culture of innovation is a business imperative. In my opinion, the best way to encourage and support this is by following the 6P’s which focus on; Posture, Principle, Passion, Perfection, Props and Practice. These P’s came from were developed from the best in disruption management – homeland security. This organization deals with life-threatening crises almost daily and need rapid, high-stakes innovation to manage frequent security incidents.
However, whatever sector you operate in, these 6P’s are industry-agnostic and can be applied across the board. But what do each of these P’s mean?
- Think big – your vision must enable everyone to speak the same language of innovation; using a standard set of tools, and collaborating fluidly across all departments for innovation projects.
- Start small – identify projects that require minimal effort, resources and/ or time; and those which management are keen on. Breaking innovation down and starting small, enables the company to effectively tackle individual challenges, allowing it to move faster and with more operational agility.
- Act fast – complete projects that can be prototyped within three months. This creates increased agility and the ability to react even quicker to competitors’ moves or market shifts.
This is a two-pronged process:
- Employees are vital in generating new innovative ideas, but you also need to identify and cultivate senior staff involvement. You need their approvalfor project requests and the provision of project resources!
- You must focus on the Innovation Department’s spheres of control:
- Influence – where can you make independent decisions with minimal interference from others?
- Strength – what are the combined skills and knowledge that make you the domain experts?
- Interest – what are they deeply passionate about and where are they willing to make personal sacrifices?
Getting the right (passionate) people involved creates the right culture for innovation. With this in mind:
- Form a community of innovators that only includes volunteers who want to be part of the process.
- Encourage those with true innovators’ traits to join – care for organisation, well-networked, inquisitive, open-minded, creative, hands-on, focused, resilient.
- Establish equality, where everyone is treated the same, regardless of rank or team. Everyone must respect each other to encourage free creativity and innovative ideas.
- Define your innovation success as incremental progress. It’s not about achieving the end goal, success is the gradual progress towards your vision.
- Continuously aim for ‘perfection’ (we know it’s impossible to achieve perfection), but it serves as a reminder to the department to remain focused and keep going.
- Celebrate the small victories, as these often built up towards the larger innovation successes.
Structures drive behaviour. Do you remember when you purchased a new phone and had to adjust to the new interface? The phone is the structure. Your actions had to conform to the design of the new phone. So, bearing this in mind:
- Define your success loop. A self-sustaining and reinforcing cycle of key culture enablers that encourages innovative employees to improve their skills and capabilities and subsequently create more new innovative outcomes.
- Identify the missing skills and capabilities needed to drive and create innovation.
- Design props that introduce these missing skills and capabilities. and:
- motivate people to capture the interest and involvement of the majority of staff when building an innovation culture.
- upskill and enhance capability. Adopt a Training roadmap with a tiered approach to:
- offer a comfortable pace of learning for staff
- guide staff in developing their own personal training milestones
- Ensure Management take the lead to be trained first so they can cascade their learnings to employees
- Create a Resource Hub as a one-stop-shop that brings ideas to life through facilitation of trials and implementation
Establish routine processes that cultivate desired habits through repetitive action. Incorporate best practices into the props to produce repetitive actions among staff, thereby embedding them with desirable, innovative patterns. These can also be reinforced through:
- Innovation awards – reward those who illustrate innovative practices and establish creative results.
- Innovation funds – establish the budget and resources to support innovation practices.
Focusing on these 6P’s will help you build the innovative organisational culture you need for success.
However, knowing what the 6Ps are is one thing, but how do you go about instituting them in your organisation and making it a sustainable endeavour for years to come? Find out more by contacting us at Lim-Loges & Masters.
Innovator and problem-solving practitioner with over 20 years’ experience, Joel is experienced in Design Thinking, Service Design, Change Management, Behavioural Insights and Lean Processing. He helps organisations deliver higher quality services; diagnose and creatively solve systemic issues to enhance operations, and gain competitive advantage by opening blue ocean markets.
If you would like to chat to Joel about your corporate innovation requirements, please drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org