How do you foster a culture of innovation that supported from the top down? Is your company is on board with sponsoring an innovation program where they issue a “mandate for innovation”? If so, this will create a pull and desire to innovate with the approval of the leadership team.
The questions that naturally arise are: How does leadership involvement create and foster a culture of innovation that encourages experimentation? How do you engage them with trying new things and innovating — even when they know most of the ideas will fail?
1) Leadership must back up a culture of ideation. When this is done, they will provide air cover, enable the team, and become evangelists of overcoming internal resistance and roadblocks. By being involved, this will show a support of the innovation program for the entire organization. The benefits will be rewarding and admonishing as needed to keep this culture alive and vibrant.
2) The organization will need tools and resources to do the work. Leadership must be open to giving teams the mechanisms, tools, and resources they need to experiment. This could include a formal Innovation Management process/system so that people know how the process/system works. This could be launching an internal group to assist in advancing their ideas and causes. It may look like new spaces to work on innovations such as Innovation Labs with time to work on innovations. Additionally, this could be utilizing outside resources to help innovation workshops and start the process of building solutions.
3) Create the Human Workplace. Leadership should seek to put in place cross-functional team players and provide them the autonomy to do their work how they want to. In other words a workplace that treats people like the adults they are, with dignity, respect, and trust.
If you can hit all these objectives, fostering a culture of innovation, the business goals will realize high-quality innovation outcomes, without a doubt. Don’t believe it? Call us at Rocksauce to see how we’ve helped companies realize their innovation programs!
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