How to Build a Highly Effective Innovation Culture
What is an innovation culture? Why is it so important for companies and organizations? And how can you build a culture of innovation? In this article, you will be introduced to the most important aspects of innovation culture.
- What is an Innovation Culture?
- Why is Creating an Innovation Culture so Important?
- Innovation Culture: Key Success Factor for Effective Innovation Management
- Creating an Innovation Culture in Organizations
- How Managers can Promote Innovation
- Different Types of Innovation Culture
- Finding the Right Innovation Culture for your Business
- How Innovation Software Supports Organizations in Creating an Innovation Culture
What is an Innovation Culture?
In companies, almost everyone involved in innovation management agrees that it is crucial to establish an innovation culture. But what exactly are we talking about? What is the definition of innovation culture?
In his scientific paper “Strengthening Innovation Capacity through Different Types of Innovation Cultures“, Innolytics® Managing Director Dr. Jens-Uwe Meyer defines the term, on the basis of 200 international studies, as the following:
“The social environment that enables staff members to develop ideas and implement innovations.“
In science and business, you will often find different terms:
- organizational creativity,
- entrepreneurial creativity,
- corporate creativity,
- creative climate,
- climate of innovation, or
- culture promoting innovation.
In general, a climate that promotes creativity is more supportive of ideation and idea generation. The term innovation culture, on the other hand, also refers to the implementation of different types of innovation, such as incremental innovation or disruptive innovation.
Why is Creating an Innovation Culture so Important?
- Companies invest significant amounts of money in product development and the development of service innovations.
- Innovation labs are established to meet the challenges of digitalization and develop innovative digital business models.
- Organizations set up innovation networks and conduct Innovation challenges.
However, despite these efforts, innovation strategies very often fail.
- The quantity and quality of ideas in idea management and the continuous improvement process is not sufficient.
- Companies lose competitiveness because organizational innovation and process improvement are neglected.
- Innovation projects that are managed through an innovation process are not progressing.
What is the reason for this? Because a company’s innovation culture may not be sufficiently developed. Creating an innovation culture is crucial to innovation management, the innovation capability of an organization and the implementation of disruptive innovations. In the next paragraph, you will get helpful advice on how to systematically build and develop an innovation-supportive organizational culture.
Innovation Culture: Key Success Factor for Effective Innovation Management
Our free article gives you a sound insight into the building blocks of an innovation culture. You will learn how to create the right framework conditions for innovation within your company, your department, and your team. You will get to know the scientific results from six years of research in a succinct and practical way. You will also hear from guest speakers, including Nestlé, Vodafone Germany and Thomas Cook AG, about how such major international corporations have built their own company’s innovation culture.
Creating an Innovation Culture in Organizations
Building a culture of innovation in an organization dramatically enhances the development of new ideas for improvements, new products, innovative services, and digital transformation.
Companies with a strong innovation culture are constantly looking for improvement potential in their products, strategies, and processes. But how you start to create an innovation culture in your organization? Here are five best practice recommendations that have been proven to be highly effective.
- Challenge the daily routine regularly! Ask provocative questions in your meetings. Motivate your teams and employees to think regularly about improvements and changes.
- Conduct innovation workshops. Develop ideas for new products and processes.
- Bring your employees together with external parties (for example, customers or suppliers) who have different perspectives on business challenges. This works, for example, by establishing open innovation processes within a company.
- Use Innovation software to connect creative minds in the different departments of your organization. Build up an innovation network.
- Hire people with an innovative mindset who want to change things. Build teams of creative thinkers with diverse backgrounds.
Building a culture of innovation is challenging and takes longer than you think at the beginning.
Do not give up! Keep asking new challenging questions, run regular innovation workshops, and put together diverse teams again and again.
How Managers can Promote Innovation
Managers ensure an innovation-friendly corporate culture. Management plays a central role in introducing and anchoring the culture of innovation. The task of the managers is to create suitable framework conditions for the development of ideas within the team.
It is important to recognise and promote the potential of employees. The following questions can help with analysis and implementation:
What prevents new ideas?
How can creative obstacles be removed?
How do we devise a creative environment?
How do we promote innovative approaches?
Where can the company set up creative freedom?
Managers as employee coaches
Through targeted coaching of employees, they can learn structured work and creativity techniques. Motivation plays a central role in this: The success of the measures is ultimately dependent on the employees’ understanding of the importance of the innovation culture.
Different Types of Innovation Culture
An innovation culture creates the right conditions for successful innovation and digitization projects. An environment in which
- new ideas emerge and are rapidly developed into prototypes,
- new things are tried out and entrepreneurial risks taken,
- To continuously learn from the successes and failures of our employees.
A culture of innovation is influenced by various factors: strategy, value system, management structure and internal processes, team composition and internal communication. Risk culture, resources and the way managers manage are also important.
There are different forms of innovation culture. Each of these characteristics promotes different forms of innovation. In our scientific research, we have identified four different forms of innovation culture.
Finding the Right Innovation Culture for your Business
In order to be fit for the markets of the future, companies need several innovation cultures at the same time.
- In order to guarantee the stability of existing processes, they need an operational corporate culture in certain areas, in which the existing is not touched but only selectively optimized.
- For the further development of existing products or process improvement, they need an innovation culture of constant optimization.
- In order to develop new business fields and new structures, they need a strategically oriented innovation culture.
- To implement more radical innovations, they need a proactive innovation culture. These business units act like speedboats: they try out new ideas and test the limits of the existing.
The chart shows that certain innovation projects can only be implemented within the corresponding culture.
How Innovation Software Supports Organizations in Creating an Innovation Culture
Digitalization opens up new possibilities for connecting creative and innovative minds within companies. By using innovation software, organizations can significantly accelerate the establishment of an innovation culture:
- Companies communicate their most important strategic questions in an open and transparent manner.
- Employees are regularly invited to develop ideas on challenging subjects.
- Ideas are commented and evaluated by other employees.
- A structured innovation process ensures that innovative ideas are consistently implemented.
Innovation software allows employees to form cross-departmental teams and implement innovations across departmental and site boundaries.
How you can start with free innovation software today
The Innolytics® idea management and innovation software supports companies in establishing a culture of innovation. In the video you can watch in just 60 seconds how employees get a transparent overview of their colleagues’ ideas, comment on them and evaluate them. You will learn how employees can enter their own ideas and share them with others.
You can directly start to increase your innovation culture by using innovation software. Up to 15 users can permanently use the software free of charge. In the paid versions you can easily bring together thousands of innovative minds worldwide – even in different languages – on one platform.
In the video you will learn how employees can enter, comment and evaluate ideas.