How to Create a Culture of Innovation

In 2022, many businesses have found themselves adrift in the “war for talent.” The “war for talent” is a phrase coined by McKinsey & Co in the late 1990s. It refers to the ultra-competitive hiring landscape recruiters face when they need to fill a new role. As a result of these conditions, turnover rates are high⁠—even in the most successful enterprises.

Accordingly, innovation culture in organizations can be tough to establish! Today rready will guide innovation managers through everything they need to know about building an innovation culture in the modern workplace.

Does a Culture of Innovation in Organizations Look Like?

We’ll start with the basics. What are the two most important characteristics of innovation culture in organizations?

  1. Decentralization - The most successful form of innovation is open innovation. Open innovation is defined by its inclusivity. It honors concepts like crowd wisdom, highlighting the value of distributed knowledge over individual expertise. Decentralization encourages collaboration and boosts employee engagement⁠—two of the essential elements of innovation.
  2. Tech savviness - In the modern business world, you can’t skimp out on technology. Business intelligence (BI) tools have revolutionized the way companies operate. For example, communication platforms like Slack and Zoom make it possible to coordinate projects and facilitate collaboration without ever meeting face-to-face. Innovation programs require supportive technology, too, like idea management and execution software. And let's face it. Zoom got us through some pretty tough times in 2020 as well. 

How Culture Affects Innovation in an Organization

According to a workplace study by the ADP Research Institute, workers who have established a connection with their employer are 75% more likely to be engaged than those who have not. This is an important statistic to be aware of because the only employees who will participate in your innovation program will be those who are engaged. When appropriately implemented, innovation programs should be motivating and fun. They stimulate the type of out-of-the-box thinking that innovation needs to thrive. 

Organization members must be incentivized to participate through employee rewards, friendly competition, or career advancement opportunities. Without a solid company culture, your innovation program could disappear faster than snacks in the rready break room. The culture of innovation in organizations also contributes positively to employee retention. Employees who feel valued and involved with their employer are less likely to leave, thus saving you from being thrust into the war for talent.

How Can an Organization Promote Innovation Culture?

Before you launch any culture-targeted initiatives, it’s crucial to examine your current workplace climate. Are employees generally happy with their working conditions? Do they feel overworked, or are they supported enough to participate in innovation challenges? One of the most crucial factors to consider is whether or not your employees will visualize innovation as an opportunity instead of additional work. Below, we’ll explore two of the most effective tools for establishing a culture of innovation in organizations. 

Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing is an excellent practice for innovation leaders to familiarize themselves with because it emphasizes the value of feedback. Crowdsourcing your innovation culture is an efficient way to tackle decentralization and employee engagement all at once. For example, suppose you’re preparing to launch an innovation challenge, but you need a rewards system to encourage participation. In that case, you could crowdsource ideas from employees about what would motivate them to join your innovation efforts—like daily time allotted to innovation or a new coffee mug. Ehh, probably not a coffee mug. Try for something a little more exciting.

Innovation Management Services With rready

Who’s better to ask than the experts? Innovation management services can either support your existing internal resources or provide you with the tools you need to get started. Generally, they fall into one of three categories—technology, methodology, or coaching/consulting. However, it’s possible to partner with an innovation management provider that encompasses all three. For instance, rready’s KICKBOX includes idea management software to manage innovation projects and facilitate teamwork. Alongside the technology, clients are provided with a physical toolkit for each employee. The toolkit contains:

 

Establishing a culture of innovation in organizations is no small feat. Don’t sweat it. At rready we get it—and we’re here to help with every step of the way. Contact us or schedule a demo below to get started.

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