Where do you set about to intervene and begin to change the organizations ability to innovate? There are seemingly so many intervention points it can get bewildering.
The innovation environment can be made-up of how well you collaborate and network, the level of group and individual interactions, the presence and commitment of leadership towards innovation, as well as the organizational set-up and structures.
You can explore the make-up of the innovation environment in so many ways.
So what makes up the environment to innovation?
It is the culture, management and its people who have a mutual dependency. Culture can enhance or inhibit the tendencies to innovate, it certainly has a profound influence on the innovative capacity and provides the rich nutrients to nurture innovation or kill it. Culture has always been regarded as a primary determinant of innovation.
Managing a fluid, rapidly changing culture that promotes innovation is complex. So often it is left to chance, left to individual experiment and interpretation, far too ad hoc in its design and progress.
We certainly need to find better ways to encourage and obtain a higher commit to our approaches into building ‘culture’ and all it covers into our thinking, if we want to really have innovation deliver on its potential. Unless the values, norms and beliefs are not clearly thought-through and consistently reinforced daily through a consistent flow of initiatives to change, to explore, to learn from, any movement can simply wither and die from this lack of ‘total’ dedication.
The question we need to ask of our management is this: “if you are wanting innovation then we all need to work through the determinants that encourage innovation together” and then set about communicating these that are highly valued and expected throughout the organization, so as to encourage them to support and make innovation happen. Continue reading
“Culture is something we can’t touch but we can feel”
All around us we have culture. Where we live, how we see ourselves against others, who we identify with and how we react when ‘our’ culture gets threatened. We become comfortable, sometimes complacent and treat ‘our’ culture as something that is just there, just around us, wrapping us up in a warm blanket.
Every now and again we get confronted. It can be within the community we live, it can be within our organizations. Innovation is one of those confronting points that challenge our accepted culture.
Organizational culture forms an integral part of our general functioning. A strong culture tends to indicate a set of shared values that move the ‘whole’ along we then get that feeling we are on the same track. The more we integrate, the more we coordinate, the more we socialize we eventually create the accepted boundaries, that feeling of growing identity among ourselves that seems to signal a similar commitment to the organization.
The sudden demand for innovation needs managing thoughtfully
Once in a while you have to stop and reflect. Why do I keep banging away at innovation, along with countless others? Often I feel we are preaching to the converted, or the ones forced to listen just in case they miss something and are suddenly banished to hell, a non-innovating organization. A place where no one will ever listen to them and this would have been the message to free the shackles and bring them back to innovation salvation.
So here I am standing in the innovation pulpit giving the weekly sermon on innovation beliefs and principles, offering this weekly reading on the (next) ten steps to avoid in that particular sin which we all know you are certainly committing! Sometimes at the end of the sermon (or article), someone comes up and leaves an offering (comment) that sustains us a little more during the week, as we go about our business, in my case consulting, advising and researching on innovation. What a hard life we seemingly lead!
So it is one of those rare occasions you recall something truly inspirational and this is what happened to me in going back to one of the best examples of true innovation practiced and preached, the “W L Gore way”