6 ways to turn your people into innovators

Britain’s got a global reputation for being an innovative nation – from Brunel to Dyson, from Stephenson to Branson.

As businesses, we all want to be innovative. It helps us create a market differentiator and a competitive advantage from which we can make money.

But what is its critical driver? A few years ago a study by Cambridge University amongst 800 firms across 17 cultures revealed that innovation success was primarily dependent on corporate culture. Not process, star hires, R&D spend or budget.

This still stands as true today as it did then. Innovation starts with culture. It’s not about creating a soft furnishing area called the Innovation Room. It’s about getting the environment right in which innovation can thrive.

Too often we see culture stultifying innovation. When leaders and managers are not prepared to take risks, tell their teams to do jobs in a certain way or ask for their permission to do anything, they are effectively embedding behaviours that are not conducive to innovation.

Instead create an environment which:

·    gives space to your managers and their team so they are not forever doing tasks, but stepping back and thinking things through from a different perspective.

·    generates trust between managers and their team members – don’t expect your staff to be nodding dogs. Create empowered teams and trust them to deliver.

·    ensures errors and risks that occur as a result of empowered decisions are positively managed with individuals instead of hauling them over the coals.

·    embeds innovative thinking – managers need to ask for solutions not problems when the team encounter obstacles.

·    provides an open and easy way for people to give feedback and identify improvements.

·    encourages cross working between teams to develop new approaches.

By getting to the root cause – the cultural environment – innovation can flourish independently of R&D and big budgets, and create a significant return for your business.

Maven Consultancy