How To Get The Innovation Value Off The Wall And Into Practice

Organisations that have innovation as a key element of their vision and values piece can finally turn the value into a reality through some simple innovation techniques. It's a sad fact that while roughly 90% of most organisations say that 'Innovation' is one of their core values, only around 2% will have an Innovation structure and only around 4% will have had any basic Innovation training, which means the value seldom becomes a reality.

Taking innovation off the value chart on the wall to the floor isn’t as hard as people think. It can be done by simply modifying the way we run team meetings. Organisations usually don’t understand what innovation actually is and the behaviours and techniques to achieve innovation.

We see there’s an increase in the number of organisations who espouse innovation, yet fail to support the value, which leads to frustrated employees and lost commercial opportunities.

For example, we recently worked with an organisation who had a leadership team demanding more innovation, yet refusing to give permission, time or training to kick start the process. It was like asking someone who’s never played piano to become a professional pianist overnight.

But the leadership team now understand that innovation is like any other business skill that has to be learned and applied in order to yield results. After a short period of training, having a simple quick innovation procedure to follow and incorporating these into their regular team meetings, the innovations have been making an obvious commercial impact.

Organisations with a wall-based innovation value could bring it to life by doing the following:

  • Innovation Rituals: Innovative Cultures are made up of innovative rituals. Create some rituals that encourage the creation of fresh ideas. For example, having a weekly guest speaker or sharing and unpacking a successful new product or service from outside of the industry.

  • Permission to spend time to innovate: Innovation takes time. While it doesn’t have to grind productivity to a halt, you need some time if you want to innovate. Start by adding on an extra 30 minutes to a meeting once a week.

  • Innovation needs to be consistent: Every day presents an opportunity to innovate. Diarise innovation activities, be they at monthly meetings or weekly sessions.

  • Innovation skills need to be learnt: While everyone has the capability to be innovative, too few of us have the skill to apply innovation. Learning effective, simple and replicable innovation skills is a must.

  • Innovation needs to be recognised: Catching a good thing happening boosts culture, and a simple way to do this is to create a monthly award for the most improved innovator - this means everyone can always improve and aspire to.

Our great inspiring colleague Organisational culture expert Michael Henderson agrees with our approach.  “Culturing is fundamental to bringing the innovation value to life. London economist Mike West has established that culture is eight times more important than strategy, so if it’s innovation you’re after, you need to get the culture right by creating Innovative project opportunities, Innovative leaders worth following and a culture worth belonging to."

I hope this helps you to get that value off the wall and into action.

nils vesk