4 Ways To Shape An Innovative Company Culture and Beat The Competition
The last few years have been very disruptive to how we work. As a result, companies have had to rethink the way they work. Workers and businesses alike have seen change and ongoing challenges with restructuring processes, managing remote or hybrid interactions, and developing short-term strategies.
Not only do companies need to embrace change, they also need to be able to respond quickly and efficiently. In today’s fast-paced business environment, those that don’t meet these qualifications are in danger of being left behind. For example, this past decade has seen a number of challenges for companies, including increased competition, rapid technological developments and evolving digitalisation that has changed the experience for consumers.
This means that employees dedicate most of their time to adapting to changes. The drawback is that it has caused an increase in employee fatigue and contributed to mass burnout and dissatisfaction. All of which hinder their capacity to innovate.
Shifting to a healthy, transparent and innovative culture is one of the most important things you can do for your company. It’s challenging, but crucial.
Innovation and Neuroscience
From a brain science perspective, people that are creative have a higher number of neural connections between different parts of the brain - this can be developed through consistent interactions with people of different backgrounds. Despite of what many believe; innovation activates both parts of the brain, the one that is intuitive and the one that is logical - this step needs a creative process that shifts between moments of creative chaos with moments of focus.
The biggest inhibitor of creativity is stress - meaning that long runs of brainstorm sessions are simply unproductive - creativity is at its best with short sessions within people that trust each other and are not in cut-throat competition mode. A team that works in a collaborative mode generates a hormone called Oxytocin that is enabler of creativity.
So, how can you build an innovation culture?
A diverse team with many different perspectives will result in innovation. This is because fresh perspectives are the breeding ground for new ideas. So when it comes to staffing, diversity should always be considered. Mixing old and young employees with genders and races in a squad can lead to fantastic innovations.
When it comes to innovation, allowing the team more creative freedom and time is essential. Time and performance pressure, in particular, have an immobilizing effect on employees’ creativity and innovation. Companies must consider these principles in their working environments or correct them by integrating niches into their day-to-day work. Individualized working environments and allotted time to focus on innovation to promote employee creativity. The structure for creativity should embed a culture of experimentation where people are encouraged to validation assumptions and learn from failures.
Recognizing employee achievements to foster a creative environment conducive to innovation is essential. If you want employees to come up with great ideas, make sure they’re rewarded for them. The recognition by leadership teams is especially important here, as when employees see how other individuals benefit from their own ideas, this will often lead them to submit ideas as well.
Structure for Ideas Generation
Every company has to decide what they’ll be innovating in and what they’ll spend their time on. If innovation hangs in limbo, it will discourage employees from coming up with new ideas or investing in the future of the business. However, if the decisions are made promptly and clearly, employees will feel encouraged to develop innovative ideas for the future.
Here are four ways to foster an innovation culture; through diversity, providing the time and space for creative freedom, developing motivation through recognition and progressing ideas into action. It is essential to make the implementation as holistic as possible and open it up to wider teams – this will create an innovative culture that lasts.
Zuleka Kaysan is the Founder and Managing Director of The Cornerstone Advisory. She works directly with business leaders and founders to position their businesses for success by connecting people, processes and technologies to results.