Companies can’t afford to stand still. Regardless of their size, legacy or positioning in the market.
Companies need to innovate at the rate of an early stage startup or risk falling behind. However, it is significantly easier to foster innovation in an early-stage startup in comparison to a large corporation that have several different hurdles to clear before making any significant change.
So how does a large organisation pursue innovation? One method that has been successfully utilised by a large number of companies is to create an agile mentality within the organisation and have a large number of agile ‘startups’ that exist within the organisation. These startups have to take responsibility for driving innovation and their has to be a tolerance to failure with these startups.
It is also very important to create a network of ‘pioneers’ within the organisation. These individuals should be resilient to failure and be able to sell new ideas to other employees. These pioneers need to be able to inspire people with stories of about how the innovation will help their role within the business.
Building platforms in which employees can collaborate on new ideas and share ‘out of the box’ thinking is another great way to drive innovation within a large organisation. The top ideas should then be selected by a committee of decision makers, with the best decisions being further developed.
So how do you build an innovative culture within your organisation?
1) Identify innovation ambassadors
Innovation ambassadors are at the forefront of the latest trends and innovations. They should have their finger on the pulse with new developments and always thinking ahead of the curve.
2) Identify innovation coaches
These individuals will be the link between the ambassadors and then organisation. They will be able to inspire innovative thinking within the organisation.
3) Develop on-boarding programme for innovation coaches
Provide the coaches with an overview about the innovation objectives for the business and what is required of these coaches, in order to drive innovation within the organisation.
4) Build a community of collaboration
Organisations that want to drive innovation should build a platform that allows employees to share ideas with one another and further explore ideas suggested by others. Building an environment which celebrates new ideas and brings the company together around these ideas is key to ensuring that your business is always one step ahead.
5) Workshops & webinars
These workshops address a single issue and are focused on developing new innovative ideas within the organisation. The innovation coaches will conduct the workshops and present any outstanding ideas to the management.
In order to ensure that there is a continuous stream of innovative ideas, it is important that the employees see some kind of outcome from their thinking. Management should highlight a new innovative idea on a monthly basis and demonstrate a pathway from that idea to market.