How can we make innovation a core value that is deeply ingrained in the corporate culture?
Today we talk most of the time Innovation at corporate level, this is same as two decades back when we were talking about the Quality, today Quality is an implicit and accepted feature of the product and is deeply ingrained in the corporate culture.
We need Innovative thinking at School and college level so that a culture of Innovation permeates to Corporate.
I like to reference the 4Rs when matters of culture change come up. At some level, culture is shaped by what constitutes our roles and responsibilities and by what we are recognized and rewarded for. This is where action is either aligned to talk or not.
My job description, the tone and content of my mgmt's communications with me and my rating (throughout and at end of year) are all clues into what my mgmt thinks about innovations.
All this said, I think it important to innovate, not for its sake but for that of the customer and the business. It is also important to recognize and reward the innovation going on already as a way of identifying and encouraging more of it.
Culture is the result of behaviors, values, who an organization is. It is not a switch that can be flipped or a knob that can be turned. To affect a culture, one must affect the things that induce behaviors. It takes time to change a culture, it won't happen over night.
Things we are doing include:
- Recognize the behaviors we want. Recognition demonstrates what's important to an organization. It communicates what we value
- Enable risk taking at the appropriate times. Celebrate when something does not work by sharing the learning and where we'll go with that. Don't punish the risk taking or say it was a "failure". This goes to a point mentioned in a reply above.
- Provide people the freedom to explore, research, prototype, play, collaborate. Let them get off the product delivery treadmill
- Simply put, act like you value innovation - because you do. Not just lip service, if it is real, make it real. Put the money and resources behind supporting it without wavering. If it is lip service, everyone sees through it real quick.
This needs to come from the top. Changing the Corporate culture is one of the biggest challenges for any CEO/Chairman/MD etc . Two gentlemen who have successfully done this have taken their respective companies to new heights and have themselves become legends in their own rights . One is Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. of IBM and the other is Jack Welck Jr. of GE.
Now changing the corporate culture does not end with issuing a ,”mission statement”. The challenge lies in the implementation of what is stated in the Mission Statement across each and every department in the organization , across the country and the continents , as the case may be . That means to ensure that the senior management in the department (Senior Manager/GM/Director) are given the responsibility to implement whatever has been decided at the top and a suitable mechanism is put into place so that those responsible for implementation are held responsible for the success /failure to do so.
My experience has been ,in large organizations it is the implementation of the organizational change , which may be innovation or something else , gets diluted and is not spread equally across the organization. Also it is not easy because in an organization there is so much day to day work that needs to be done that change in the corporate culture looses focus and steam.
That’s why we see very few successes in corporate history as in the case of IBM and GE. So for any organization which wants to make innovation , a core value , needs to be sure that this is implemented properly .
One way of doing this would be as given below :
•In any organization , for any new idea/concept/policy , the employees can be divided into 3 groups :
a)The early adopters b) The Nay sayers c) Those who are neutral , who take time to watch look at how things go and then decide which way to go .
•Make champions of the early adopters . Put the management weight and support behind them. It does not matter whether the early adopter is a fresher or a director . They need the support from the top management to develop the critical mass. If this group does not get the support , which it deserves then the chances of success for the organizational change is very slim.
•The middle group , which is neutral at the beginning , and usually they are the biggest in number , when they see the success of the early adopters and seethe management support , now they fall in tow.
•The Nay sayers , now see that there is no more point in resisting , and they also join the fray.
•This way the organizational change is completed and spread across the entire organization.
From the above we see the following :
1)Organizational change starts the top
2)It is the responsibility of the top management to ensure that the early adopters receive the support of the organization which they deserve
3)It is the responsibility of the top management to keep a close watch on the development till the critical mass is reached . After that they can ease a bit as things begin to fall into place.
Source(s):My source has been my own experience which I have gained over the years working in various organizations in India and Canada.
In my opinion ,innovation goes hand in hand with a democratisation of the workplace.In firms where free expression is actively encouraged by management ,the culture of innovation is inherent in the work ethic.
Idea generation is not an act but rather a process that can only thrive in an enabling environment.For innovation to thrive it must be managed as a lateral process rather than linearly.This supports the notion that a particular department should not shoulder that responsibility ( HR etc),but that the entire team takes it as a challenge.
For this model to be sustainable,it must be coupled by a correctly designed and implemented reward system.Various companies have applied this strategy successfully,i.e Google,Apple etc.A key characteristic in is that there is a real sense of ownership among its staff,a far cry from the bastions of idea stagnation that are our governments bureaucracies!
- Sohel Kapasi
Source(s):credit Matia Mandela
Culture is driven by actions, not words. Corporate leadership must not only tolerate "smart failure," but embrace and reward it. Talking about the importance of innovation while canning or transferring to Siberia those who took educated risks and came up short will yield a stale culture with correspondingly banal products and services.
Note the emphasis on "smart failure" and "educated risk." Tolerating carelessness is not going to drive innovation. Encouraging thorough, rigorous thought and assessing decisions based on the information available at the time is what I'm talking about. Smart failure involves striving for greatness, endeavoring to achieve the improbable, but doing so while diversifying risk and planning contingencies. Embracing and rewarding such people will drive an innovative culture.
Source(s):My own humble opinion...
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