By guest blogger, Damian McAlonan
Ask any executive what they mean by ‘being innovative’ and you’re likely to get a different set of answers ranging from the invention of new products to the application of new methods.
Despite this, there’s one thing that unites all senior executives and that’s the desire to increase innovation within their organisations.
In a recent McKinsey survey, 70% of senior executives acknowledged that innovation was one of their top three drivers for growth. However, almost two thirds said they were “somewhat,” “a little,” or “not at all” confident about how they could influence or stimulate innovation in their organisation.
So how can you revive innovation?
A good start point is to review a company renowned for innovation in their approach to the market, their products and their people. I’m talking about Google.
Within their company ‘Operations Bible’ Google recognises there’s no silver bullet for creating or increasing innovation within an organisation, instead they believe in a set of ‘8 basic principles’ to guide and deliver market leading innovation.
These principles include;
- Think 10x.
- Launch, then keep listening.
- Hire the right people.
- Share everything you can.
- Use the 70/20/10 model.
- Look for ideas everywhere.
- Use data, not opinions, and finally;
- Focus on users, not the competition.
Whilst many of the principles are self-explanatory they indirectly reveal a culture that values openness, trust, collaboration and ambitious thinking. Taking this model, it’s fair to say the first steps to creating greater innovation must start with a desire to develop a culture and framework that embraces similar values.
Mention this ‘cultural change’ to some senior executives and you’ll receive a face that looks daunted with thoughts of large investment over a considerable amount of time. However in our experience, transforming companies’ cultures often relies on a simple, practical and joined up approach. It involves making small steps, doing them well and being consistent.
Therefore your first steps to improving innovation might include;
- A clear vision and set of values to encourage and attract innovation and practiced in everything you do.
- A structure that enables flexibility within this framework of values, and finally;
- Support from the top that cascades throughout the organisation recognising and rewarding when innovation takes place.
These simple steps don’t just drive greater innovation, they provide your people with a great place to work.