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How to create an innovation culture
Innovation can help your brand reach the next level
Think of some of the most recognizable brands of this day and age: Apple. Netflix. Tesla. Amazon. Spotify. What do these companies have in common? Yes, all these companies are now worth a good sum of money, but before that, they all relied on one strategy: creating a culture of innovation in the workplace.
All startup businesses believe their product or service has out-innovated the competition – otherwise, they’d never have taken the risks involved in starting a business in the first place. But being a one-time inventor is vastly different from embracing an innovation culture. Successful companies and their leaders realize that they must add value to people’s lives in new, improved and meaningful ways. Since your customer’s needs are constantly shifting, you need not just innovation, but strategic innovation that’s woven into every facet of your company. To really shift your business strategy into high gear, you need an innovation culture definition that resonates with your brand. Here’s how you can shift gears to attain strategic success.
Crafting an innovation culture definition that resonates
What is cultural innovation? The innovation culture definition most often used in business centers on companies that invite unorthodox thought. These firms recognize that creating a culture of innovation is paramount since it’s only through the freedom of thought that a team can exercise full creativity in problem-solving. Businesses that prioritize innovation culture solicit input from all levels of their organization to generate the most forward-thinking ideas. When a staff is unified by a common goal (innovating for your brand) and mutual respect (for your hand-picked team), the entire business soars. Innovation culture examples point to a company culture built on the values a business holds dear, backed by a commitment to fresh thought. As you work to create an innovation culture definition that aligns with your brand, you’ll find tailored solutions that energize lasting success.
Why is creating a culture of innovation important?
Innovation culture redefines risk.
Instead of operating on a fear of failure, a culture based on innovation understands how to use fear in a way that supports success. Team members are not afraid to make mistakes because they know that setbacks lead to even greater successes. These workplaces are on the cutting edge of technology and know that keeping up with their customer’s lives and needs is at the heart of their growth. Management in an innovation culture does not punish mistakes. Instead, it encourages team members to take chances and always strive to get to the next level.
Innovation culture keeps your brand relevant.
Not creating a culture of innovation means your company will lose relevance. You can only prevent disruption by competitors by prioritizing your own business’ continuous improvement, updating your services and finding new ways to address your customers’ changing needs. An innovation culture is one based on anticipation. If you do not find a way to anticipate potential business problems and turn them into opportunities, you run the risk of being blindsided by an obstacle that could take your business down.
Innovation culture attracts top talent.
Being known as a company with innovation culture is also a strong way to attract the right employees to build a team that works. Those who are hungry for success and have the brightest minds want to work for companies that will let them innovate and take calculated risks.
Identify your purpose to create an innovation culture
Want to create this type of environment at your company? It’s helpful to look at innovation culture examples to get ideas, but first you need to determine your purpose as an organization. Ask yourself: What business are you in? How do you bring value to the lives of your customers? What can your brand do that no other brand can? How do you create customer loyalty? What makes you talkably different?
Answering these questions thoroughly might take a few days or weeks, but the answers you’ll find are crucial to understanding the process of creating a culture of innovation in the workplace. Give yourself time to think about the true mission of your organization and how it relates to your customers. You must understand what you’re doing from a traditional viewpoint in order to introduce innovation.
Next, identify any roadblocks in your way. Do you need to hire a larger sales or marketing team in order to bolster growth? Are you harboring limiting beliefs about yourself that are preventing you from reaching your full potential? Are you too focused on competing instead of creating? Finding honest answers to these questions will help you fine-tune an innovation culture definition that prepares your company for long-term success.
Your customers are key to creating a culture of innovation
Marketing expert Jay Abraham suggests that innovation culture begins with gaining access to your clients. When your market isn’t working for you or your products or services don’t have value to the marketplace, your consumer has basically denied you access to their attention, interest and trust. They are not willing to engage and be vulnerable because they feel you are not aware of their needs and lifestyles. When this happens, you need to have constant awareness and a game plan capable of promoting consumer shifts. When you realize that your customer’s needs are always changing and that you must continually adapt to these needs, an innovation culture will naturally form. According to Jay, you will master the capabilities for being interesting, fascinating, uniquely appealing, highly educational and unparalleled in your communication.
Empower others as leaders to foster an innovation culture
Your next step is realizing that good ideas can come from anywhere within your organization. Recognize that real leadership means creating a culture of innovation for all staff and committing to positive change. To encourage innovation, foster a culture that values creativity and proactively addresses corporate communication issues.
Encourage your employees to discuss their ideas with people in other departments and at different levels of the organization. This spreading of ideas can only lead to growth. Additionally, challenge your team to think of themselves as leaders. Every person at the company has leadership potential, not just the managers and executives. There are many types of leadership styles, so learn how to recognize the signs of different leaders and encourage them to find ways to share their ideas in a positive, encouraging environment. By allowing staff at all levels of your company to contribute and thrive, you’ll become adept at creating a culture of innovation.
Establish a brain trust to ignite innovation culture
Jay Abraham believes that most business owners suffer from tunnel vision. They begin to think in a narrow way because they are only exposing themselves to others who think in the same manner. To break out of this and begin thinking outside the box, they must establish a brain trust of those who have a different perspective and who can help them see opportunities and obstacles they are unaware of. Successful business marketing and creating a culture of innovation is about connecting – connecting with your team, connecting with your customers and connecting with those who you can learn from. When you form a brain trust, you expand what you see as possible and find new solutions to old problems. You develop mentors and confidantes that not only help you create an innovation culture in the workplace, but who can also help you through rough patches and celebrate with you when you succeed.
Focus on the future to encourage innovation culture
There’s no point in putting extensive work into creating a culture of innovation if you don’t have a powerful vision for the future of your company. It all comes back to what business you’re in. If you’re in the fitness clothing industry, you’re not just selling fitness apparel – you’re empowering others to feel their best, inside and out. You’re encouraging your customers to live a healthy life so they can go on to achieve their goals. Remember that innovation culture isn’t about selling – it’s about giving value.
The most powerful innovation culture examples are businesses that have found the true mission of their company and always keep it at the forefront of their minds. They visualize the end goal of what they want to do for their clients and operate as if they have already achieved that goal. When you make this your focus, you’ll be naturally inclined to strategically innovate because you’ll do whatever it takes to reach that goal.
Revisit your progress to create an innovation culture
Your plan is in motion. You’re working well with your team and have an understanding of your future vision, as well as an idea of what it takes to add value to your customers’ lives. Now that you’re moving forward, be sure you’re making adequate progress along the way. Are you hitting goals you set for yourself and your team? Are you continuing to strategically innovate or have you reached a place of stagnation? Don’t be afraid to change course if something’s not working or if you determine a better way to achieve your goals. It can be time-consuming to do so, but by pursuing a continuous innovation culture now instead of letting opportunities pass you by later, you’ll be on track to succeed.
Innovation culture examples
Now that we’ve outlined a basic framework for understanding innovation culture, let’s look at a few examples of what a company committed to fresh thinking really looks like. As you formulate your own innovation culture definition and methodology, utilize these examples as guidelines to keep yourself on track. True innovation culture produces the following outcomes:
1. Retains quality staff
One of the most basic-but-overlooked ideas for creating a culture of innovation is improving quality staff retention by honoring employees’ emotional intelligence on the job. Employees are humans, and management practices that do not respect employees’ emotional needs create work environments that are emotionally and mentally difficult for most employees. You can lose your smartest, most talented workers if you’re not taking their emotional intelligence and needs into account. Rather than expecting too much of your staff, respect their emotional intelligence when you develop recruitment strategies and create your best practices in hiring and promoting.
2. Embraces change
Change forces adaptation. That’s why change can be a key spark in creating a culture of innovation. Embracing change means recognizing opportunities for adjustment, including internal and external business practices. It also means modeling to your employees that change is nothing to fear and will often lead to your company’s biggest breakthroughs. Leaning into opportunities for change is essential to a successful innovation culture in the workplace.
3. Facilitates professional development
When thinking about how to encourage innovation culture and creativity, real leaders are committed to their own professional and personal growth as well as their staff’s development opportunities. To facilitate creating a culture of innovation, make ongoing professional development part of your company’s policy. Consider what your staff really needs to grow and excel at their jobs and give them access to tools like podcasts, books and business coaches. When your staff is growing, your company is, too.
4. Keeps innovation attached to your customer base
Make sure that your efforts at encouraging an innovation culture are attached to your product. Whatever the innovation, ensure that you and your staff strategize around the behavior of your customers. By facilitating innovation that is practical and customer-oriented, you ensure that the innovation serves your biggest priority – creating customers who are raving fans.
5. Prioritizes fresh approaches
Instead of putting “creating a culture of innovation” on the back burner, make it a priority. If you’re short on innovation culture examples, find a way to use old, familiar resources for new purposes. As you demonstrate how to drive strategic innovation, you’ll become a living example of the values your company upholds.
6. Makes innovation a budget priority
What is cultural innovation going to accomplish if it can’t fund your team’s best and brightest ideas? The adage “put your money where your mouth is” is true of innovation culture examples, which won’t produce results if they can’t get off the ground. To make innovation culture work, you must prove to your staff that you’re serious by funding the creativity you’re asking of them. Ask your team for ideas on how to reorganize and rededicate your budget to what counts: nimble, strategic and constant innovation.
7. Expands and strengthens your network
No business is an island. No matter how strong your operations are, you are always strongest with the support of others in your industry. Building your company on innovation culture means strengthening the ties that bond, internally and externally. As you grow and expand through constant innovation, you become an invaluable player in your field. You’re seen as a leader, mentor, and resource, all of which strengthen the professional relationships that will support your company through challenges as well as successes.
Want to learn more about creating a culture of innovation? Attend Business Mastery, a five-day event hosted by Tony Robbins that delivers powerful messaging about what it takes for your brand to thrive in any market. With incredible speakers and actionable strategies, you’ll refine your skills and feel more prepared than ever to innovate.