The global business environment is getting more competitive, technology change is accelerating, and socio-economic changes are changing consumer perceptions and behaviors. Individuals and organizations need to become skilled at developing new, creative ideas and implementing them to create new value. When I speak to groups and ask the audience who works for an innovative organization, only about 15% of attendees raise their hands. We cannot continue with the status quo. It is critical to cultivate an organizational culture which continually improves and develops new products, services, and processes. To create an innovative culture, it MUST start at the very top of the organization.
The following are ten key points that leaders need to adopt to create an innovative organization. Why is an innovative organization important? With all the changes in the world happening at a faster and faster rate, organizations must stay ahead of competitors to attract and retain long-term customers. The way to keep competitors off-balance and continually excite customers is with new ideas. A workforce that uses imagination, creativity, and innovation will evolve, adapt, and succeed. Every part of every organization must continually improve and develop new, creative ways to develop higher value.
Leaders cannot think that investments in innovation will take away from current revenue sources. It is critical to support current business and continually evolve current and future opportunities. The balance between current operations and future innovation is a key part of senior leadership responsibilities. Every part of an organization must continually evolve and focus on the future.
So if you want long-term personal and business success, adopt the following key points. Leaders must lead by example and develop and change themselves, while supporting the entire organization to evolve and grow. So learn how to develop new creative ideas and develop innovative products, services, and processes and create a powerful organization which leads.
- A culture of innovation must be led from the top
- The leader (e.g., CEO, President) must nurture the culture, long-term – ongoing with continous communication
- Encourage everyone to develop new ideas – not just typical “creative” groups (e.g., advertising, marketing, R&D) – experiment and fail
- Provide training – adopt a long-term view of training, encourage lifelong learning and skill building
- Provide resources to support creativity and innovation
- Move away from command-and-control leadership – mentor and coach, provide freedom to experiment and fail
- Get close to customers – your and competitor’s
- Focus on diversity – age, ethnicity, experience, etc.
- Balance freedom and control
- Teach everyone how to change and develop new perspectives
Out of Our Minds by Sir Ken Robinson, PhD