Many CEOs and leaders talk about the importance of innovation in their organizations. But often their words are bland and vague – just a form of management-speak. If you want people to really believe then why not explain exactly what you mean with a Declaration of Innovation. The Declaration of Innovation is a statement of commitment and intent. It should contain the following elements:
- An explanation of why innovation is critical for the organization.
- A list of some of the key areas where innovation is needed – e.g. launching new products or services, breaking into new markets, replacing processes with better ones, finding new ways to source materials, reducing costs, recruiting and motivating people, partnering and so on.
- A request for every employee to contribute his or her ideas.
- A commitment to listen and respond to all ideas.
- A commitment to allocate resources – in particular time, training and money – for creativity, idea development and innovation.
- An idea management and evaluation process.
- A determination to look for ideas from all sources including outside the organization.
- An affirmation of a positive attitude towards risk and failure. In particular employees will not be criticized or blamed for honest innovative endeavors that do not succeed.
The Declaration of Innovation becomes a manifesto for change in the organization. It endorses the vision, culture and processes of innovation. It is made available to all employees. New starters get it as part of their documents of employment. It is available on the intranet. It is a powerful reminder to everyone that innovation is not just a buzzword; it is part of the DNA of the organization.
Taken from The Innovative Leader published by Kogan Page
Paul Sloane writes, speaks and leads workshops on creativity, innovation and leadership. He is the author of The Innovative Leader and editor of A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing, both published by Kogan-Page.