Culture of Innovation: A Story on Three Axes

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We can all feel how quickly business changes these days, but it helps to put some numbers around it. Here’s how long it took for the following media platforms to reach 50 million users:

  • Radio: 38 years
  • Television: 13 years
  • Internet: 4 years
  • Facebook: 3.5 years
  • Instagram: 6 months
  • Angry Birds: 35 days

Consumers adopt trends faster, startups mature faster (including the one that will disrupt your business), and even large enterprises have learned to adapt to changing consumer trends.

To survive, companies must create a culture of innovation. To thrive, they must accurately measure the value of all that innovation. We think of the culture of innovation as existing on three axes: top down/grass roots, disruptive/incremental, and industry/horizontal.

Story on Three Axes

In a true culture of innovation, programs run simultaneously along all axes.

  • Innovation workshops. A grass-roots effort that brings together small groups of people from all over the company for two- or three-hour problem-solving sessions. Participants are encouraged to explore the feasibility, viability, and desirability of the most popular ideas, rather than simply brainstorming.
  • Innovation labs. A place to showcase any disruptive technologies your company has developed, allow clients to see those technologies in action, and facilitate brainstorming around the application of that technology in your clients’ environment.
  • Social idea platform. A way for individuals to easily and spontaneously share ideas with a community, pursue validation, and seek funding.
  • Streamlined innovation platform. A way for managers to drive social innovation initiatives, recognize and reward innovators, and measure the value of new and ongoing programs.
  • Competitions. App development competitions foster creativity and innovation. They can be event based (e.g., hackathons) or stage based (concept, design, development each have a submission deadline and a judging period).

Success of your innovation initiative rests on three pillars: measurement, recognition, and an emphasis on grass-roots innovation.

As with any other initiative, a culture of innovation needs to be measured to gauge its effectiveness and highlight areas that need adjusting. Key metrics include improved productivity, improved process and organizational efficiency, increased revenue, enhanced speed to market, enhanced customer loyalty, enhanced employee engagement, and reduced risk of disruption.

It’s essential to recognize everyone who takes part in these activities, whether it’s awarding a prize to an individual or team, asking key individuals to present their solution to top executives and/or clients, or showcasing innovative solutions at company-wide gatherings.

Finally, realize the importance of grass-roots innovation over the more typical top-down programs. Our grass-roots efforts have yielded highly practical, distinctive solutions; helped us discover talented individuals that could be successfully deployed on high-profile projects; and created the type of employee engagement that results in high levels of innovation and productivity.

Post Date: 8/18/2015

default blog image Imran Sayeed

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