Tips for Building a Culture of Innovation
Aristotle famously said that excellence isn’t an act, it’s a habit. The same is true of innovation. Creating innovation arises out of an ongoing culture rather than a project or a one-time act.
Culture is the beliefs and values in action, both historically and current. An organization that cultivates innovation culture will embrace change, take calculated risks and be open to failing fast. This culture is both the proof of the past and the foundation for the future. Here are three tips to build this culture.
Hire more women
Women are an underrepresented and untapped resource in many professional fields. Take manufacturing, for example. Despite comprising 47% of the US labor force, women account for only 29% of the manufacturing workforce. This matters because research shows that manufacturing organizations benefit from gender diversity, with a greater ability to innovate , higher return on equity, and increased profitability. To innovate, start by hiring women.
Say yes, and…
In improv, the rule of saying “yes, and…” creates new possibilities. Open dialogue leads to innovation. Your company isn’t a stage, but you can operate by similar principles. If someone offers and idea, trying seeing what you can add to it rather than flatly shutting it down or starting with another alternative. To do this, you need to banish the “yes, but” mindset, and establish ground rules to get others to do the same.
It’s easy to get caught up in your day-to-day list of things to do and emails that need a response. But if you get stuck in that routine, you’ll never get the chance to take a step back and see how you can change the big picture. An innovation mindset is an investment, and to feed your mind you need to read and learn from other innovators. Meg Whitman, Steve Jobs and Elon Musk are just some of the thought leaders you can learn from for free at your library. Get buy in from others and continue to build a culture of innovation by starting or joining a book club at work with these authors.
Finally, don’t expect to see results overnight. Culture change is difficult, but the payoff can be huge once it takes root. Remember, it’s a habit.