Our research has proved that innovation doesn't flow from R&D dollars or big ideas, it's shaped by leaders and company culture. So how do you define a "culture of innovation?" And how do you create optimal conditions for innovation in your workplace?
Why build a culture of innovation?
The way organizations operate is constantly evolving. Companies are challenged to keep up with the shifting landscape around customers, competitors, and societal and technological trends.
A culture of innovation enables an organization to not only survive but also thrive under these conditions by allowing a company to adjust better. Employees, in a sense, become market researchers, developing the insights and solutions they need to overcome new challenges.
What is the relationship between culture and innovation?
Culture is the driver of innovation, creating the conditions for employees to flourish and create. The right culture fuels a sense of belonging where employees feel safe bringing their unique contributions to the table. A psychologically safe culture unlocks the potential for innovation.
Psychologically safe doesn't necessarily mean comfortable, but rather a culture that allows people to challenge the conventual way of doing things to produce breakthroughs and innovation.
How do you create a culture of innovation?
To create a culture of innovation, leaders must first create a great place to work For All™. For All means that everyone, no matter who they are or what they do, has a great workplace experience, a seat at the table, and a voice in the larger conversation.
Leaving any employee behind in a company culture affects both the individual and the organization, resulting in untapped potential and ideas.
Second, leaders must create an environment of teamwork and collaboration that enables people to network and communicate with each other. When team members with diverse expertise come together, great ideas result.
Third, leaders must foster a culture of continuous learning. As a direct consequence of companies attempting to adapt to the changing environment, work inside companies is continually changing as well.
For All leaders understand that old ways of doing things will not be enough to tackle new challenges. For that, there must be changes to learning. Leaders have to place developing their people at the top of the management agenda.
How do you measure a culture of innovation?
One way to measure innovation is to ask employees how many meaningful innovation opportunities they have experienced. Those who state "a lot" is one yardstick.
Other indicators are how many employees express excitement about coming to work or a greater sense of agility and readiness for change. Whether you have employees strongly recommending your company, is another measure of innovation in your workplace.
Why does a culture of innovation matter for business?
According to our data, companies that get innovation right experience 5x the revenue growth of companies in the bottom quartile. In light of the changing landscape of business today, companies that are doing a great job of engaging their employees in innovation efforts build a culture of agility.
When asked if people quickly adapt to changes needed for the organization's success, 89% of the employees in these organizations respond favorably.