The need for creating a culture of innovation within your company has never been more apparent. Whether the last twelve months have made your team more creative and efficient, or you realize the necessity of becoming more flexible and adaptable, now is the time to make the changes for the future. Here are eight steps for creating a culture of innovation within your company.
8 Ways to Create and Maintain a Culture of Innovation
1) Break Down Silos
"The "silo mentality" can be defined as a mindset present when certain departments or sectors do not wish to share information with others in the same organization."
Whether leadership is explicitly or complicity withholding information and collaboration from various teams within your organization, silos stifle and suffocate innovation. Your best ideas are not going to be locked away in silos. They are going to come from collaboration within and between various teams. Leadership and management may feel they are protecting teams by limiting scope, but in reality, they are stifling potential growth. Break down those silos or developing a culture of innovation will be impossible.
2) Create Clear Goals
Do your teams know your company's goals? Are they clear and measurable? Do you have buy-in from leadership and employees?
The goals that best facilitate collaboration strike a balance between clarity and ambiguity. You might set a growth goal that is a stretch but still within reach. However, to get there, it will require creativity from multiple teams and departments to reach it. A goal too distant and inconceivable will burden teams rather than inspire them. However, if the goal is too easily attained, it will put out the spark of innovation.
Setting the right kind of goals may require some help from someone outside your organization. Contact TEAMES & CO for help with setting goals that inspire innovation.
3) Develop Collaborative Strategies
Predicated on breaking down silos and developing the right goals, you can begin facilitating collaborative strategies within and between teams. This may involve rethinking your company's workspaces and workday structures. Leadership will need to support this atomosphere, especially as many teams are virtual, but collaboration can jumpstart your growth. One way to start is toshare ‘the why’ behind the goals. Your team may not get there as you first imagined, but if they are inspired by ‘the why’ you can motivate your teams to work together to reach that goal in unimaginable ways, as they collaborate to find innovative solutions.
4) Build and Implement Agile Teams
You have committed to breaking down silos between leadership and teams, set clear goals, and facilitating collaboration to get where you want to go. Now your teams can be structured around reaching those goals. It is vital not to simply pay lip-service to the notion of agile teams. They must be able to respond to market needs, react and solve customer challenges, and ultimately excel through change. This is the only way to truly facilitate the kind of collaboration within and between teams that leads to a culture of innovation.
5) Prioritize Communication and Team Collaboration
With your agile teams in place, it is time to break down communication barriers and ensure you do not return to siloed communication. What is keeping your teams from collaborating together? Are there changes you can make to the calendar or workspace to allow ideas to flow more freely between departments? Can you improve your communications cadence? Prioritizing interdepartmental collaboration will go a long way toward creating a spirit of innovation.
6) Listen to Customer Feedback
Customer-experience is essential to growth. Define your core customer base and learn from them how you can improve. Unfortunately, many companies know they have excellent products and services, but they do not have the customer data to prove it. Testimonials and reviews are helpful, but they only tell part of the story. If you do not have an airtight customer feedback loop in place, you are missing out on key opportunities for innovation. Determine your core customer base and find ways to get genuine, vital feedback.
7) Identify Areas for Innovation
Are you in need of creative strategies for improving and streamlining your operations? Does your company need to take the next step forward in developing excellent products? Is it your marketing and messaging that needs to be more creative? Maybe all three areas would benefit from innovation. Identify the areas that need to improve and utilize the collaborative solutions to improve your core customer experience.
8) Bring in Professional Consultants
TEAMES & CO is a full-service organization that works with teams from strategy through implementation. We can help you identity silos, develop agile teams, determine the right goals, and facilitate the collaborative communication your company needs to become an innovative culture. We will not simply hand you a report. We get to know you and your teams and create a customized solution just for you. TEAMES & CO will help you implement the strategy as well. Our success is your success. If you would like to know more about how to develop an innovative culture, contact TEAMES & CO for more information. Be sure to subscribe to our podcast as well, and keep setting your course toward growth.