How to Make Innovation Everybody’s Business


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The ability to innovate is the most important of all factors when it comes to successful organizational performance. In a rapidly changing world, organizations must encourage all their employees to actively contribute to and participate in innovation processes to achieve maximum leverage.

The rapid pace of change can be a source of risks and a great level or uncertainty, but it can also be seen as providing great opportunities for innovation. Instead of resisting change and falling behind – why don’t you embrace the endless possibilities of tomorrow?

Well, even if you do – there is no way you can pull it of on your own. It is not nearly enough to decide that innovation is important. In fact, 95% of global companies view innovation as top priority. But problem is – executives don’t know how to actually pull it of and get the rest of the organization to jump on the train.

Oh well. I’ll let you in on a little secret – one that you might not like to hear. You’ve got to get everyone involved in your innovation processes. Not just R&D, product developers or engineers – but every single person in your organization, no matter what role or title.

Why? Because ideas that come from individuals and teams are the source of innovation. And you want that source to be as big as possible, with as many possible combinations as possible.

So far so good, right? But what comes before ideas? How do you even make everyone contribute with their ideas and views as natural as drinking coffee or sending e-mails?

The key is the work environment, or as I will entitle it further, organizational climate. The organizational climate strongly influences the creativity of individuals and teams. The best way to support people’s innovativeness and get them to contribute to the organization’s ability to innovate is to create conditions for a creative and innovative climate.

Consequently, one of the main challenges facing today’s leaders is to lead and manage organizational climate that supports creativity and innovation. Thus, it’s highly important to understand how to create the right conditions on individual, team and organizational level.

So – what characterize innovative organizations with a climate that supports and stimulates innovation? Well, creative and innovative organizations are places where employees have a strong and shared belief in an inspiring vision of what the organization wants and are trying to achieve.

Furthermore, these organizations are characterized by:

  • A high level of interaction and discussions
  • Constructive debates where opposing opinions are discussed
  • High influence from employees
  • Trust and openness towards each other
  • Collaboration within and outside the organization
  • Ideas that are constructively and openly received
  • Playfulness and humor
  • Freedom to take initiative, be flexible and make decisions
  • Risk-taking and people dare to try new ways of working
  • Challenging and stimulating work
  • A dynamic environment where no two days are ever the same
  • Time for reflection and idea development
  • Low level of personal conflicts and high acceptance for diversity

Your secret weapon against your competitors of tomorrow is there, right in front of you. Make sure to create the right conditions for your employees to be innovative by supporting a climate characterized by the bullet points above.

I hope this post has given you some inspiration. Please share your thoughts in the comments for further discussions. 

 

/Johanna Tömmervik, CMO @ Prindit

Courtesy to:

Amabile, T. M., Conti, R., Coon, H., Lazenby, J., & Herron, M. (1996). Assessing the work environment for creativity. Academy of Management Journal, 39, 1154–1184.

State of Global Innovation study 2015
http://imaginatik.com//sites/default/files/State%20of%20Global%20Innovation%202015_FINAL.pdf

Isaksson, S. G. & Ekvall, G. (2010). Managing for Innovation: The Two Faces of Tension in Creative Climates. Creativity and Innovation Management, 19 (2) pp. 73-88.

Isaksson, S. G. & Ekvall, G. (2006). Assessing your Context for Change – A technical Manual for the Situational Outlook Questionnaire. Enhancing performance of organizations, leaders and teams for over 50 years. The Creative Problem Solving Group: New York

Tomas, G., Hult, M., Hurley, R.F. & Knight. G.A. (2004). Innovativeness: Its antecendents and impact on business performance. Industrial Marketing Management. Vol 33, pp 429- 438.

Seyr, S. & Vollmer, A. (2014). “Socio-moral climate, debate, and decision comprehensiveness interplay for team innovation”, International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 25 Iss 2 pp. 105 – 123

West, M. A. & Sacramento, C. A. (2012). Creativity and Innovation: The Role of Team and Organizational Climate. Handbook of Organizational Creativity. Birmingham, United Kingdom: Elsevier Inc.

 

 

 

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