How to Sustain Your Innovation Program Over Time

Research shows that 81% of digitally mature companies cite innovation as a strength of their organizations, compared with 36% from developing companies and only 10% from early-stage companies. For an innovation program to be defined as a success, though, it must be sustainable.

The prospect of keeping employees in a creative mindset for the long haul can sound daunting. However, cultivating a culture of sustained innovation needn’t be the uphill battle you perceive. Here are some of the best tips to help make it happen.

1. Promote Accessible Innovation

Corporate innovation can only be sustained if you gain a company-wide buy-in. For starters, promoting a greater number of intrapreneurs ensures that the volume of submitted  ideas will increase. Crucially, making innovation accessible to all - as Implenia did using KICKBOX - also ensures that ideas  come from all directions and perspectives.

When combined with the fact that a team of innovators will inspire each other, sustained results are assured.


2. Remove Bureaucracy

If you are eager to promote lasting innovation, it’s imperative that you tear down any barriers that could cause intrapreneurs to become disengaged. Bureaucracy is one of the worst culprits. Employees who believe their ideas will be killed before they've even had a chance to go out and validate them by gathering real customer feedback and insights within a given time frame, are likely to simply stop bothering. 

Allowing employees to take ownership of their ideas by removing the need for endless approvals and permission will work wonders. It also removes delays in the process. 


3. Create Psychological Safety

In addition to giving employees a voice, businesses must let them fail as a part of the process. Creativity requires energy, peace of mind, and perspective but that is very hard to find when the fear of failure looms overhead. Besides, innovation is often an iterative process, which is why the right mindset must be established.

As long as employees learn from their failures, they will provide valuable steps on the path to success. So, analyzing failures rather than simply abandoning them is also vital.


4. Expand Your Ecosystem

As already discussed, a sustained innovation program relies heavily on the ability to gain ideas from multiple directions. Expanding the ecosystem by accepting ideas from clients - as the My Starbucks Idea incentive did - can present new innovations or spark something in an employee’s mind that helps them unlock their next great idea.


5. Have Clear Direction

It’s far easier for employees to innovate when they understand the objectives. When employees comprehend the broader context and strategic direction of their organization, they can better align their innovative ideas with the overall mission, ensuring relevance and purpose in their endeavors. 

Contextuality emphasizes the importance of considering market conditions, industry trends, and competitive landscape. Viability and feasibility play a crucial role in assessing the potential for success and practicality of implementation. A customer-centric approach focusing on desirability ensures innovations resonate with the target audience. 

With product development, revenue growth, and customer experiences as driving forces, a well-structured innovation program can flourish, fostering a culture of creativity and problem-solving within the workforce and driving continuous progress and positive outcomes. A program that focuses on these features should thrive.

An innovation program should have a clear framework to help express ideas. KICKBOX has multiple templates to achieve this, allowing employees to focus on growing their concepts. The KICKBOOK's structured approach ensures that proposed solutions align with organizational objectives and resonate with target customers. By utilizing these templates and real-world insights, intrapreneurs can focus on developing and growing their concepts, fostering a culture of creativity and problem-solving within the organization.


6. Reward Innovation

Finally, employees need a reason to keep innovating. While intrinsic motivation does play a key role, organizations should implement reward systems. KICKBOX is an ideal innovation program. It records all steps on the path to innovation, allowing companies to recognize all successes rather than only the people that found the “big idea”.

It encourages employees to repeat those behaviors and keep innovating for the long haul. Once this has been achieved, there is no looking back.

To learn more about how KICKBOX helps you build a sustained innovation program, call rready to arrange a full demonstration now.

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