How to make innovation happen: innovation culture and frameworks 

In today’s rapidly developing world, it is a must for organisations to embrace innovation. However, innovation is a subjective concept that can be challenging to comprehend and implement. Today, we outline some valuable tips on how to effectively incorporate innovation within your organisation. This can be achieved by fostering a culture of innovation and implementing innovation frameworks. 

 

1. What is an innovation culture  

When we talk about creating an innovation culture, we are talking about building an environment which supports innovative thinking and promotes creativity. An innovation culture is built around the belief that new ideas can come from any member of the team, not only from those on the top of the organisation’s hierarchy.   

 

In an innovation culture, team members are encouraged to question the norm, take risks, and learn from their experiences. Collaboration and open communication are two essential practices to create a successful innovation culture.  Three of the main pillars that support an innovation culture are:   

    • Sets goals and focusses on reaching them.  
    • Encourages learning.  
    • Understands the importance of taking risks and learning from failures.  

 

Figure 1 | Quote by Tony Robbins 

2. Benefits of having an innovation culture

 

Motivates employees and increases engagement:

Fostering an innovation culture empowers employees, boosting their satisfaction, productivity, and ultimately, increasing employee retention rates. When ideas are listened to and valued, employees are motivated to participate in the growth of the organisation. 

Strengthens the organisation’s community:

An innovation culture creates a sense of teamwork and engagement among employees, leading to a more cohesive workplace. When employees feel like valued members of a united team working towards a common goal, their engagement and commitment to their work grows, which consequently increases productivity too.  

Fosters adaptability:

An innovation culture promotes adaptability, allowing organisations to quickly respond to market changes and trends. By embracing experimentation, organisations are better prepared to adapt to uncertain times and change.  

Encourages continuous company growth and improvement:

Innovation not only encourages big organisational changes, but also small and continuous improvements. A culture of innovation fosters a progressive pursuit of improvement, motivating employees at all levels to generate and implement new ideas, no matter their size. 

Competitive advantage:

Companies with a strong innovation culture stand out from their competitors. They are better prepared to adapt to market changes, anticipate customer needs, and create disruptive solutions.

These are just a few of the many benefits that an innovation culture can bring to your organisation. In order to put it into practice and have the possibility to benefit from them, we have outlined several tips or steps that can be followed to motivate the transition to an innovation culture: 

3. Tips to create an innovation culture   

1. Embrace a culture of upskilling and encourage learning:

Upskilling involves developing employee capabilities and employability by providing the necessary knowledge, skills, and mindset to enhance job performance. To cultivate this culture, identify key skills, create training programs, and support employees in learning while fulfilling their regular duties.

2. Motivate open communication and collaboration:

To encourage employees to exchange ideas it’s fundamental to motivate an open communication between the whole team. By creating a safe environment, the organisation enables everyone to comfortably share new and innovative solutions. In this context, feedback is not only accepted but also embraced.  

3. Systematise the idea generation process:

In an organisation, new ideas play a crucial role in driving growth and should never be overlooked. Therefore, it is vital to establish a system that democratises the generation and management of new ideas, enabling their monitoring and rewarding innovation accordingly.  

4. Reward creativity and innovation:

Create a system that rewards innovative and creative thinking. It is important to publicly recognise those who have made contributions to the organisation’s innovation initiatives. This system will make employees feel valued and will motivate future ideas.  

5. Provide constructive feedback – celebrate and learn from failure:

Within the established safe environment, failures should be viewed as valuable learning opportunities rather than mistakes. Encourage employees to analyse them and apply the lessons learned to future projects.   

6. Establish a general mindset of curiosity and open-mindedness:

Encourage team members to question the norm and explore new ideas. An innovative culture needs to value experimentation and risk-taking

7. Leaders must be an example:

Employees will feel more motivated to think outside the box if they see their leaders doing the same. They must show a strong willingness to embrace change and actively drive innovation within their organisation. 

In addition to implementing an innovation culture in your organisation, it is necessary to approach every project from an innovation perspective. One way to systematise this process is through the use of innovation frameworks. 

4. Innovation frameworks  

An innovation framework is an organisation wide approach to drive innovation performance. It’s an organisation wide approach to drive innovation performance, a structure that creates a shared understanding of how innovation happens in your business. An innovation framework encourages staff to focus on the ideas that matter and helps organisations deliver faster by setting the who, where, what and how the organisation innovates.

Our way to develop innovation frameworks is based on four steps: 

  

    • Discover: Following discovery, in this step we deliver an Innovation Maturity Assessment, an Innovation Roadmap and an Innovation Change Strategy.   
    • Design & Build: We work with our clients to create a personalised solution that will take their business to the next level.    
    • Pilot: In this part, we focus on testing how the solution that has been tailored fits in the real world. To do so, we carry out innovation skills classroom training and team building exercises.  
    • Grow: We follow the organisation’s transition to make sure that changes are being effective and that the company is correctly adapting to this new innovative framework. 

What you will get with an innovation framework:   

    • Ideation: A common approach to spark, shape and evaluate ideas  
    • Execution: Match delivery effort to risk, aligned to organisational approaches  
    • Extension: Maximise investment using change, measurement, sharing and reflection  

These structures are fundamental to maximise investment, reduce time to implement ideas, reduce burnout and get better, more aligned initiative outcomes.   

 

Figure 2 | What is and how to implement an innovation framework

Consulcad helps innovation happen in your organisation through the help of our PMO professionals, best of breed PM Toolkits, and award-winning Project Portfolio Management (PPM) tools.  

If you need assistance with Innovation and Project Management, contact us.