When we hear the word “innovation”, we usually think of new technical tools and innovation funnels. We regularly forget that instigating renewal requires attention to the ‘soft’ side. Because of that, we collaborated with the UvA (University of Amsterdam) to research innovation-culture. Where does this innovation thrive and where, perhaps unconsciously, does it get stepped on? Six leading organisations from different branches participated: from offshore to temporary employment. Important conclusion: organisations with a good innovation-culture are more creative and develop more frequently2. That seems like a no-brainer. However, in practice, we often see little investment in culture. We have summarised the characteristics of an innovation-culture, for you, in the image below. So ask yourself: how high does my organisation score in these factors? Keen to learn about some of these factors right away? Then keep reading for the most important conclusions to our research.
Time for creativity: the big hurdle
Our research shows that many employees think of their work as important and challenging. They also experience a high level of autonomy. This clearly suggests potential for innovation at an individual level. The big hurdle? Time to develop. We also see this clearly reflected in practice. A heavy workload and work that’s never finished are deemed the major culprit. But these days, this workload seems a given rather than a temporary thing. How does one cope with that? It demands drastic decisions. Do you want innovation? Then make innovation your priority and the first thing on the calendar. This evidently means other goals will have to come second. Which will those be? Decide, and produce a different perception of a workload within your people.
Teams: dare to challenge each other
To get innovation off the ground, team dynamics are an important aspect. It turns out that the extra benefit of working in a team is not being used optimally. Most teams experience an open and safe environment but do too little to really challenge each other and offer new perspectives. Do you truly want to kick off new projects? Then dare to challenge each other. Take the time to ask critical questions, or switch places for a day, to hear the opinions of a colleague on the other side of the table. Come to realise that a different view is an important starting point for the birth of new ideas and that others can help you to develop your ideas further.
Organisation: Actively carry out innovation
At an individual and team level, people are reasonably stimulated to be innovative in their work. Yet they are often unaware that their organisation is actively dealing with innovation. Resulting in lost opportunities to be creative. Many organisations say they want to innovate, but do not put action to their words. True innovation needs to be carried out actively in all layers of an organisation. Therefore, take some risk with an innovative project or reward your people for creative ideas and communicate on the subject. Wherever an organisation diverts its attention is the most important frame of reference for its employees.
Like to know about where you can make adjustments to unearth innovation?