Innovation plays an essential role in the success of your company. With the accelerated evolution of digital technologies, companies must be creative and flexible if they want to meet the expectations of their clients. Nice concept, right? But the reality is that transforming your company into an innovation lab is not such an easy feat.
Let us be honest, corporate structure is prone to resist change. A successful digital transformation also requires you to transform the vision within your work team. You can certainly simulate creativity by adding a ping-pong table and creating a co-working lounge with big animal shaped cushions, posting a sign on your walls with the slogan “Innovate and experiment”. These changes will certainly create some excitement, that will, however, quickly be dissolved and replaced by the usual status quo unless you adopt strategies that will sustainably transform the culture of your business.
How do you substantially change the way you think and approach things within your team? Here are 12 ways to once and for all establish a culture of innovation in your business:
1. Determine your innovation objectives and communicate them regularly
Start by defining your objectives and by making sure they are clearly and continuously communicated to your employees. This first step will allow each team member to focus on the right priorities and become more autonomous in their decision-making and thus have more freedom to innovate! It is possible to efficiently communicate your vision, even with over a thousand employees. This has been demonstrated by Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft.
2. Present your employees the different areas in which they can innovate
Knowing how to innovate may seem more obvious to your employees working in the field than for your accountants, for example. Introduce your employees the different areas in which they can share their ideas allowing everyone to be involved, regardless of their role.
3. Learn from what others are doing
Find examples of successful innovations outside of your own industry sector and encourage your team to do the same. Looking at solutions found in remote industries will stimulate your creativity by forcing you to think about how you can apply these solutions in your own reality.
4. Practice empathy
As a leader of innovation, it is important to try and put yourself in the shoes of your colleagues as often as possible. This will allow you to build better bridges between your vision and theirs. Your team will also be more inclined in adopting your new propositions and procedures.
5. Invest generously in training
Continuous learning is one of the best ways to stay curious and flexible to change. Allocate budgets for the training of your employees and encourage them to follow them throughout their career in your company. Your commitment to their growth will motivate them and help create a caring environment.
6. Encourage your employees to fail to better innovate
There is no greater creative block than the fear of failure. Let your team know that stumbling is allowed and even encouraged. Coming up with good ideas requires testing. The wrong leads can be removed more quickly.
7. Boost creativity by asking questions
Do not settle for just knowing how one of your projects failed. Take the time to also ask why it failed. And let’s get crazy by asking what entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos would do in such a situation. It is always impressive to see how creative people can get with the premise “what if?” in mind!
8. Promote cultural diversity
Recruiting people from different backgrounds is not only ethical, but it also increases your creativity and performance. According to the Harvard Business Review, having a team member who shares the same ethnic background as a client is 152% more likely of understanding that client than other members. Advantageous, isn’t it?
9. Create a safe space where everyone can come up with new ideas
Companies that fail to create an inclusive environment deprive themselves of a portion of their pool of good ideas. Be sure to apply methods that ensure the voices of everyone will be heard. Plan creative events such as off-site trips, encouraging everyone to actively participate in your big project.
10. Place yourself at the same level as your interlocutor
Letting others participate in the discussion also entails making your content accessible. Whether it be to communicate with a client or a colleague from another department, be sure to express yourself in terms your interlocutor will understand. As advised by George Orwell, “Never use a foreign language expression or a scientific term if you can find an equivalent in everyday language.”
11. Provide feedback on the work of your team
Congratulate your employees for their successes and instill ways that will allow the whole team to retroactively make constructive comments.
12. Hire new talent
To attract new talent, apply a maximum of the 11 tips mentioned above! This will help you improve your employer brand and set yourself apart in the employer market. The more options you have, the more you can choose employees that share your vision, you will then be on your way to innovation.
By implementing these 12 habits in your company, you can be sure that you will no longer hear anyone say, “If it is not broken do not fix it!”. There is no doubt that modernizing your business into the digital age goes beyond the technological aspect. The first step is to transform the corporate culture, you can more easily rally your entire team to your project and succeed in your digital transformation!
How about you, what successful habits worked in promoting innovation within your company? Share them with us, we are intrigued by what they are! And if you would like to further discuss methods of adopting a digital strategy, that is efficient for your company, do not hesitate to contact one of our experts. You will then be able to obtain personalized advice tailored to your situation.