Building a culture of innovation means more than sticky notes, espresso machines, and team building events. Leaders must bake this new approach of fresh thinking and driving change into the company’s mission.
When it comes to creating a culture of innovation, the CEO must walk the walk. The CEO has to think it’s important and has to be behind it. But it can’t be just the CEO; it has to come from all of the leaders in the organization. The CEO needs to be the head coach. And, of course, the CEO must be aware that a culture shift needs to happen and be willing to go through the difficult process, because changing and building a new culture takes hard work.
The best way to engage and motivate your employees toward creating this kind of culture is communication. Lots and lots of communication, articulated by the top leaders, and parroted by lower level leaders as well.
That communication needs to include what the organization is trying to be good at, who they’re serving, and the desire to get new ideas percolating throughout the company. Innovation isn’t just new products and services. It could be new ways of operating your business, so that you develop a competitive advantage or do something more efficiently. Building out your mission, vision, and core values will help your team to all row in the same direction. In addition, you need to educate your team that the world has changed. There is more volatility and uncertainty in the market than ever before, and that leads to complexity and ambiguity. Embrace the changes and make it your competitive advantage.
How can customers and other outside influencers help develop innovation? Understanding your customers is more important than ever. Dig into your customers and understand their problems and challenges.
You’ll get some new ideas about how customers use your products and the adjacent pains or issues that you can solve.