Innovation as Culture

Thanksgiving has come and gone. Did you get your fill of family and football? Are you back to the grind and wishing every department wasn't moving sluggishly, like they just finished that second plate of turkey & stuffing?

You're not alone. An entire industry has emerged to help slow moving teams learn to be more innovative and agile - with several schools of thought prevailing. Some try to teach innovation through seminars and PowerPoints. Others only pay lip service to innovation by recommending tools & tech, but failing to address the core changes that must take place for innovation to take hold.

For starters, executives who wish to spread a culture of innovation must master a new kind of knowledge management and recognize an extended knowledge pool. This can range from encouraging “intrapreneurship” - fostering an environment where new ideas are encouraged and adopted in the face of established norms - to taking culture cues from startups who are innovative by their very nature.

Enterprise innovation expert Haydn Shaughnessy (#bestnameever) writes that innovation is “inherently an engagement practice, though you have to be smart about managing that engagement, giving employees feedback and letting them know where their contributions are headed.” This speaks to the value in training employees how to create innovation from scratch. And that comes from practice, from hands-on experiences in developing new ideas and working through the objective of putting them into practice.

We’re full speed ahead for December, and next week will feature some ideas about how to inject innovation into your existing company culture and what’s needed to provide new tools, new techniques and new skills to help your staff create the new deliverables.