Creating a Culture of Innovation

This week we are talking about innovation and specifically the ideas that drive our innovation.

The definition of innovation is…

An idea that has been implemented into a product, service, process, or system that is new to the business (or individual).

Our ability to innovate consistently is a critical component of the health and stability of our business.  It’s impact dictates that we do not leave innovation to chance.  If we are an ‘ideas’ person, it may be tempting to rely on ourselves to drive the innovation in our company.  Again, the stronger position will be to create a culture of innovation that extends beyond ourselves.

Here are a few strategies to consider…

  • Ask your people (employees and contract staff). This is a great strategy AND here is a caution.  Before you ask, be sure that you are interested in what they have to say and are willing to consider the ideas.
  • Create a way to gather ideas. This can be as simple as an idea box (physical or virtual).  You may also want to add ‘ideas’ as a standing agenda item to staff meetings.
  • Identify your ‘idea’ people. Pay attention to who seems to be creative and encourage them to share their ideas. Hint – they are not always the ‘doers’ or the person who speaks up in meetings.
  • Embrace temporary defeat. Many ideas and some innovations will not work and will be abandoned.  This is part of the process – make sure your team understands this.
  • Complete an After Action Review (AAR) on all Making this review a part of the process helps to ensure that we are always learning from our innovations (successful and not so successful).
    • What did we learn from what went well?
    • What did we learn from what did not go well?
    • Based on the answers to questions 1 & 2, what changes can we make to our innovation process to systematically improve our results?

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