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What can your organisation do to be more innovative?

04.03.2013
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In our modern economy you’re hard pressed to find managers that aren’t striving to make their organisations more innovative.  Innovation is seen as a crucial to financial survival, allowing organisations to launch new products or reduce costs.

As IBM argued last year, a key selling point for social business is in improving the capacity for employees to innovate, with organisations increasingly creating open and collaborative cultures in an attempt to facilitate innovation.

The Institute for Corporate Productivity have produced a new report looking at the kind of behaviours that need to be present in an organisation to encourage innovation.

10 behaviours that drive innovation

  1. Use technology-enabled collaboration/social business tools to share knowledge - i4cp believe that training in social business is one of the key elements that is currently missing from most leadership development programs, and it is essential to building an innovative workforce.
  2. Define and promote organisational values related to innovation - The likes of 3M and Google are well known for their innovative cultures.  Is your organisation?  This is a point that I suspect few would dispute, but the difference between knowing and doing remains large.
  3. Include innovation as a major competency in leadership development plans - Make sure that you hire and promote with innovation in mind.
  4. Tie individual bonuses and/or salary increases to innovation - Whilst it’s debatable whether financial incentives can produce innovative behaviours, i4cp data suggests that financial rewards shouldn’t be discounted.
  5. Have a formal program to find and promote creative/innovative programs, products, or ideas - Innovation is often a case of evolution rather than revolution, therefore organisations need to provide support to employees.
  6. Put in place discrete budgets to fund innovation projects external to the enterprise - This is an interesting point, and one that some early adopters are taking on board.  We’re seeing an increase in competitions and marketplaces to solicit ideas and input from outside of the enterprise.
  7. Provide internal training in creativity and innovation practices - There’s an impression that creativity is something you either have or you don’t, but i4cp suggest that internal training gives high performing organisations a much better chance of achieving success.
  8. Put in place a formalised or structured idea/innovation review process - Innovation isn’t just a case of coming up with ideas.  Those ideas also need to be developed, and the best organisations have clear processes for enabling this.
  9. Track innovation talent at both the college undergraduate and/or graduate level - Just as organisations need to develop innovative behaviours at senior level, they also need to ensure they have a good pipeline of innovative employees.
  10. Reward innovation via more engaging work and/or greater autonomy - Whilst financial rewards were mentioned previously, the report closes with the suggestion to award employees greater autonomy and more enjoyable work for displaying innovative characteristics.

You can download the full report here.