7 Habits of Highly Innovative Teams

The benefits of innovation are now accepted by business leaders around the world with an impressive 84% of executives confirming that it is important to their growth strategy. However, it is not an attribute that should be limited to owners or C-level managers. Truly innovative companies should adopt a company-wide strategy that encourages all teams to focus on this concept.

But what exactly does an innovative team look like? Here are seven habits they tend to display. Once your teams showcase these characteristics, innovation will be evident in your company’s DNA.

1. They accept failure

Innovation doesn’t mean that a business will hit a streak of one winning idea after the next. In fact, 95% of new product innovations fail – and this applies to even the world’s most innovative companies, like Google, Apple, and Amazon. A look at the evolution of the Angry Birds franchise is a good example of this, with the gaming company Rovio releasing 51 failed games before finally creating a winning idea. Promoting psychological safety and creating an atmosphere where teams are comfortable with failing and do not fear the response to their ideas will make a huge difference.


2. They learn from failures

In addition to accepting failure as a natural part of the process, innovative teams build positive relationships with failure by actively learning from their mistakes. When employees are allowed to review their errors in a domain that is available for their colleagues to see, this offers a company-wide resource for learning. The collaborative tools that form part of the KICKBOX program, facilitate this for immediate and continued growth both on a personal and broader level.


3. They actively innovate daily

It’s great when an idea hits you out of nowhere. In reality, the majority of great solutions surface when teams actively dedicate time to innovation. Allowing teams to focus on ideas without outside distractions can enhance the quality. However, innovation is at its best when it is an ongoing commitment. KICKBOX enables individuals to share thoughts all-year round, through its online platform. Better still, it extends innovation beyond the early phases into the entire project timeline, and it provides the opportunity for team members to support each other with expertise and encouragement.


4. They listen to clients

Innovative ideas can often stem from what someone else says. Therefore, listening to client feedback is a common trait shared by the most innovative companies. The Nascar /Fan Council customer intelligence program is one example of how passionate brand advocates can provide the basis for future innovation. Aside from sparking ideas that resonate with a target audience, it can increase their connection to the company. The KICKBOX program encourages innovators to collect feedback from their potential target customers using various tools, to ensure that their concept is resolute and relevant.


5. They love their companies 

Innovative teams won’t only tap into the enthusiasm of their customers. They also share that passion. Teams that love the brand, can connect to its mission statement, and feel engaged with projects,  will naturally acquire a mindset where they will introduce new ideas that they want to see succeed. In the case of Swisscom’s Video Support project, the idea to enable customers to use a smartphone camera to show a problem to a customer support agent came from the intrapreneur’s own experiences using Facetime and scanning QR codes.


6. They promote a level playing field

Innovation should be a company-wide process, which is why all employees need to feel that they have equal opportunities. Employee reward programs can incentivize employees to be creative and share their ideas. However, it’s equally important to remove situations where junior team members feel that they have to jump through multiple hoops before their ideas are responded to. When the company hierarchy hinders innovation, it’s hard to resolve the issue.


7. They enjoy balanced lives

Finally, innovative teams will embrace innovation but do not let it rule their lives. It becomes very difficult to innovate when you are mentally or physically exhausted, which is why taking steps to avoid burnout is so important. The correlation between burnout and reduced innovation is scientifically shown as well as anecdotally supported. A balanced life in and outside of work doesn’t guarantee great ideas, but it prevents many of the issues that could stifle creativity.

Building an innovative team is a move that can generate significant improvements for the company. Now that you know what characteristics to look for,  it’s time to encourage your team to develop them. You’ve got this.

Let us give you and your team the tools to promote innovation in your company. If you're rready to transform your business in all aspects, then reach out to us.

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