An innovative culture like one synonymous with Silicon Valley didn’t just appear. It was by design.
“If you look at history, innovation doesn’t come just from giving people incentives;
it comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect.”
Traditional “corporate culture” conjures images of bland cubicles, top-down hierarchies, and strict processes. It gets the job done, but for many employees can be stagnant and downright boring. They lack motivation, engagement, and creativity. Turnover is high, growth is slow, and morale is non-existent.
Forward-thinking leaders know they need a workforce that drives innovation, so they build their organization’s norms and values to follow suite. Open floorplans, brainstorming sessions, collaboration. The results are an innovative culture that is it constant pursuit of improvement, and the bottom-line reflects it.
Regardless of industry, occupation, and skillset, people are capable of amazing things when provided with the right opportunities. They have intimate knowledge, unique experiences, and ideas to improve the company. They just need that “push”.
So how do you create an innovative culture where your employees can grow alongside the company?
Start by giving them what they need. Apart from resources and time, prime your employees to improve with knowledge. New ideas are great, but are they what management is looking for? Be transparent. Tell employees the problems you’re solving (ask the right questions), the opportunities you’re pursuing, and the types of ideas the company needs. Providing context and staying honest gets people talking and thinking, and keeps the organization pointed in the right direction.
When people know where the company is heading, empower them to act. An innovative culture thrives through collaboration and the sharing of ideas, and when employees know the problems and opportunities the company is looking to solve, ideas will flow freely and abundantly. Empower and provide them with the steps and infrastructure to validate their ideas and pitch them to management for implementation.
With a focus on transparency, knowledge-sharing, and collaboration, an innovative culture can thrive in any industry. Employees stay observant, actively find ways to improve operations, share their ideas, and play a role in moving the organization forward, developing their careers along the way. Want to take things even further? Use collaborative tools like idea management software so you can bring the process online and manage your innovation digitally (85% of the largest US companies are already doing it).
Company culture and the pursuit of innovation are now more important than ever, and it only makes sense for the two to work together. With the right combination of leadership, vision, and investment in continuous improvement initiatives, talent will flock to and flourish in your innovative culture.
So what is your environment missing?