How do we build an ongoing process for innovation?
Many senior leadership teams want to build an ongoing process for innovation. They communicate this strategy to their employees, and encourage their employees to be innovative. However, senior leadership teams often find themselves struggling with how to ensure that innovation becomes an ongoing process.
In order to build an ongoing process for innovation, it first needs to become part of the corporate culture, which takes time and a bit of patience because old attitudes and habits often get in the way. Therefore, the organization needs to create new attitudes and habits in order to drive a new culture.
The following process can be used to help senior leadership facilitate a culture that fosters new attitudes and habits that will allow you instill innovation through the fabric of the entire organization.
This innovation process begins in Quadrant I. Quadrant I focuses on Brainstorming. It is imperative that all employees come to the conversation with an open mind and senior leadership gives them permission to think outside the box as to what might happen if we changed and updated our products/services or how we can create new products/services. Encouragement and reinforcement from senior leadership behind the mantra of ... all ideas are good ideas help organizations create this new attitude. Continual Quadrant I conversations over time create new habits which will build your ongoing innovation process.
As we cross the bridge of creativity into Quadrant II, we now bring all employees together for monthly brainstorming sessions where each employee brings two or three new ideas to the table. As a team, they determine which top two or three ideas will be implemented. Keep in mind, you will get more out of your employees if you have some type of reward/recognition system in place. Innovative organizations have rewards for new ideas as well as for successful implementations.
As we cross the bridge of implementation, we are now in Quadrant III. This is where the innovative ideas are implemented. It’s where all of the magic happens or the trains fall off the tracks, so to speak. In this quadrant, employees will try and fail, mistakes will happen, and not every implementation will be successful. It takes persistence and the appropriate attitudes to persevere and cross over the bridge of accomplishment.
Upon crossing over the bridge of accomplishment, we are now in Quadrant IV, known as Innovation Results Measured. You will need to establish quantifiable measurements as to what results were achieved and what impact they have to the company’s bottom line. This quadrant is all about results and celebration! Celebration is critical to foster the new culture and the needed attitudes. After crossing the bridge of celebration, we’re back into Quadrant I, Brainstorming. If innovation is successful, it is continual. Innovation is key if you want to be a sustainable business. Are you ahead or behind the innovation curve?