What has been, and always will remain, near the top of every corporation’s wish list is a thriving culture of innovation, one that utilizes those best positioned to spur new growth within the company: the employees.
This select group is positioned to do what no other group of people can do: to merge the current day-to-day business happenings with the near-future, “in the pipeline” plans, as well as the company’s long-term goals and dreams. An innovative culture is especially essential in the IT industry where the competition is fierce, and the rapid-fire rate of change demands a cutting edge mentality.
The first tenet of an innovative culture is the mindset that insists on and encourages from anyone and everyone—title or lack thereof aside—the same spirit of innovation. The playing field must be level when it comes to offering innovative-nurturing opportunities.
These strategies will cultivate that all-important spirit.
1. Strike a balance between management procedures and empowerment.
Clear reporting lines are necessary as are procedural mandates. Both can, and should, be tools for achieving optimal performance. But each can be a roadblock to innovation when they hold back the movers and shakers whose unproven light bulb moments are frowned on or get an immediate “no” from leadership.
When innovative thinking is considered a priority, companies can figure out a way to encourage and reward the time and energy needed to discover new products and birth new ideas. An example of empowerment at its finest? Google’s “20% time” policy which allows employees to spend one-fifth of their work week on what they want to work on, with the expectation that this discretionary work will result in an “aha” moment.
2. Reduce bureaucracy
Bureaucracy and innovation don’t play well together. Jumping through hoops, clearing committees and waiting for approval are certain enthusiasm dampers for an innovative thinker who’s raring to forge ahead with a new idea or product. It’s the reason big companies overall are considered less inventive or entrepreneurial than smaller organizations. But actually, the size of the business is not the culprit. Rather it’s the systems most big businesses have in place that stymie the innovative spirit. Often smaller organizations can implement ideas in a timelier fashion simply because of less bureaucracy.
When reengineering General Electric, Jack Welch said, “My goal is to get the small company’s soul and small company’s speed inside our big company.” A worthy goal indeed.
3. Establish a tolerance for risk and failure
Innovation, by its very nature, involves risk. A necessary part of growth is the recognition that failure will occur. What looks and sounds totally plausible will not always pan out. Put a positive spin on the ideas that don’t produce the expected and hoped for outcome by chalking the process up to experience. Analyze and dissect what worked well, what totally flopped, etc., and learn from the situation. Without a framework that clearly articulates an understanding that failure is part of the innovative process, employees will shy away from taking risks necessary to move beyond the here and now.
Both company and team culture is evaluated and understood as a part of Myelin Resources’ Predictive Placement Method. Contact our staffing specialists today for assistance in establishing long-term staffing solutions for your company.