Innovation in Culture
November 19, 2018 by Tony Chapman
In the last twelve months, we’ve noticed a significant increase in the number of clients approaching SRA to enlist our guidance and support in creating targeted culture change. This has included, for example, a culture that embraces change, a more customer-oriented culture, or a more innovative culture.
And this really excites the team here at SRA. Organisational culture is a key potential source of competitive advantage for nearly every organisation… yet most fail to optimise this potential. Many businesses fail to appreciate how important culture is to the realisation of strategic objectives. In doing so they fall short of the potential of the business and its people.
Targeted culture change is about creating a direct link between the organisation’s strategy, and what it needs from its people to realise that.
In reflecting on a recent conversation with a client about creating a more innovative culture, we thought we’d share a few tips for those who are also seeking to instil innovation as a more prominent part of their organisational culture.
What is an innovative organisational culture?
An innovative organisation encourages employees to be creative in the workplace; provide opportunities for employees to freely offer new ideas and foster a positive team environment. As a result, employees feel a sense of ownership and commitment to their organisation as their ideas and problem-solving skills are valued.
Tips for a more innovative culture
Following are three tips from the SRA team to help your business create a more innovative organisational culture:
- Promote innovation.Let your employees know you are seeking innovation, provide mechanisms to make it easy for anyone in the organisation to innovate, and celebrate when people do. Encourage your people to think outside the box – it’s not just about the products or services the business creates… it could be around processes… or the business model itself.
- Encourage challenging the status quo. Encourage employees to be dissatisfied with things as they are… to be on the lookout for customer problems unsolved by the business… or even created by the business. Encourage them to look outside the business for change in this industry that might affect the business, or even changes in other industries which this business could learn from. Give people time to engage in this sort of reflection and thinking.
- Create a blame-free culture.People are often reluctant to stick their necks out and suggest or do something differently. It’s safer to do things the way they’ve always been done. Or to avoid leaping into something new and bold. So the business needs to create a culture where mistakes are okay (unless they are repeated mistakes… or breaches of legislation, policy or safety matters), and free from repercussions.
What is your experience in being part of an innovation culture?
Tony Chapman is a Director of SRA Corporate Change, as well as a mentor, coach, facilitator and senior consultant.