May 26, 2021

Creating an Innovative Culture for your Company

In this article, we review how to create and maintain a culture of innovation, first steps you'd want to take to make this a reality, and how to know it's working.

An innovative culture consists of developing skills and abilities to generate new products, services, or processes in different areas of society.

The innovative culture is perceived as those transformation and change processes that are implemented in:

  • Environment
  • Society
  • Culture
  • Science

Also, how they are applied through the recognition of all the capacities and experiences of the common individual, to link them from their way of thinking.

How can an innovative culture be encouraged and maintained?

If the managers think that changing the culture requires a direct impact on the values ​​and beliefs that employees have learned and shared, the task can appear to be difficult and complex. Values ​​and beliefs are part of people, they are in people’s minds, and therefore are difficult to change.

However, top managers, with their daily practice and example, with their behavior, in the way they exercise their responsibility and develop both formal and informal relationships with those around them, they are continually showing what they value and expect from their collaborators.

The values ​​and beliefs that form the culture of the company are largely the results of an accumulation of experiences resulting from a certain way of functioning of the management. This suggests that there is a much easier way to achieve change.

culture of innovation

Management as a promoter of the culture of innovation

Management can promote a culture conducive to innovation by changing the way it leads and guides its employees.

Essentially this means that the way to define managerial responsibilities, the different management systems, and the way to integrate and coordinate managerial action; recognize people's opinions and contributions to creativity and innovation.

Clayton Christensen (1999), Harvard professor of innovation, reaches a similar conclusion when he states that: "Culture is composed of procedures, or ways of working together and shared criteria for making decisions, used repeatedly successfully over time, which have been adopted as basic assumptions."

The best alternative to create an innovative culture is to implement management practices, progressively involving all levels and with various means, which favor the innovative, entrepreneurial, and creative behavior that is pursued.

Changing the way we lead in each and every one of its aspects:

  • The way we set objectives, we plan, allocate resources, evaluate collaborators, reward, set levels of responsibility and give autonomy, manage information, etc.
  • We are shaping the culture, either consciously or, more often, unconsciously. Again, the task points to the highest echelons of our organizations.

culture of innovation

Important aspects to consider in this first approach to innovation:

The mere generation of ideas, if they are not implemented, does not obtain any desired impact and does not constitute innovation; Well, generating more ideas does not make us more innovative.

When the application of a new idea can be carried out without altering the day-to-day, it corresponds more to the field of continuous improvement rather than to innovation.

Both continuous improvement and innovation make a contribution, an impact on the market, or an internal improvement, but what distinguishes innovation from improvement is that the transformation of the innovative idea requires doing something different from what the company has been doing in the past.

Linked to the previous one, innovation requires and is supported by new development, be it some aspect of basic knowledge, or a new process or a management approach, in short, some internal development that complements the new initial idea, innovating today facilitates innovation tomorrow.

There are organizations capable of being systematically more innovative than their competitors, these companies attract attention because they do “different” things.

culture of innovation

Characteristics of a company with an innovative culture

  • Senior Management dedicates part of their time to be close to innovation to anticipate competitors and accepts and encourages their approaches to be challenged by employees of lower hierarchical levels.
  • There are clear strategic objectives of what is expected of innovative initiatives.
  • They do not punish mistakes, on the contrary, they encourage them. They know that will bring true innovation.
  • Maximum diversity (interdisciplinary teams) is sought in project teams so that this "creative tension" leads to better solutions.
  • All employees are encouraged to be recognized for their innovative ideas.
  • If an innovative idea arises, decisions are made quickly to assess whether it can be moved forward and some resources are provided to test it.
  • Managers are innovative because selection and promotion processes have previously been correctly applied for this to happen.
  • The organizational culture encourages constructive criticism and proposes new solutions for customers.
  • There are a few limiting beliefs and data is used, but also intuition.
  • Support, research, or production departments make life easier for commercial teams.
  • They co-create innovation beyond the borders of the company: they collaborate with competitors, clients, suppliers, universities, and other institutions because they know that an R + D + I that wants to be differential cannot be supported only by internal resources.

Do you take on the challenge of implementing an innovative culture in your company? Remember that everything is given by example, and starts from the top; it is a bit of breaking schemes and preconceptions and implementing different actions to achieve different results.

Already started your path to innovative culture? learn how to promote it here.

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