There are three ways to make a company more innovative.
One is to change the entire company culture from the top down to foster and promote innovative thinking and actions and reward it appropriately. This takes a lot of time and effort to achieve, but will eventually lead to sustainable, significant results.
The second way is to introduce an innovator who is fully backed by the entire board and enabled to pursue a small number of innovations, while including other employees in the process. As the innovations are taken forward and succeed, the employees see the positive output of their innovative efforts and are encouraged further. This takes a longer time to get to the same point as the first option, but is less hard work and does have the benefit of getting some positive innovations out in the early stages. The key here is to find a suitable innovator able to continue to innovate while also training and mentoring others to do so.
The third way is to bring in an innovation team. This can be internal, or consultants. Once again they need the full backing of the board and senior management and their work is high profile and publicised throughout the company to raise awareness of the company’s desire to become more innovative. Again, once the initial innovations are taken forward and shown to succeed, it leads to a slow shift of the mindset of the workforce to become more innovative and be rewarded for their increased contribution to the future of the company. This can take even longer to get to the stage of having an innovative work force, if that is the ultimate goal, but has a significantly improved innovation output from the start. However there is no guarantee that without doing some of the first or second options in addition, the culture internally will ever change sufficiently to become self sustaining.
Being innovative is the primary reason companies succeed and then stay ahead, but it is also one of the hardest things for a company to maintain once it is a significant size with so many siloed, specialist roles. There is no easy fix, but here are three strategies of how we can help you in your innovation ambition.