Innovation is the lifeblood of any organization that wants to remain competitive and relevant in today’s rapidly changing marketplace. However, many companies struggle to engage employees across the organization in innovation, leading to a situation where only the research and revelopment (R&D) department is innovating while the rest of the company remains stuck in a “safe” way of thinking.
This is a common challenge that we see in many organizations that we work with at Vinco Innovation. In this blog post, we’ll explore how companies can unlock the innovation potential across the organization and why is it so beneficial. In the end of the blog, you can also find a video interview of the topic.
Why is a safe way of innovating actually risky?
Safe way of innovating can mean many things. For Vinco, it means that innovation is somehow limited in a company, the most disruptive or radical innovation ideas never see the light of day. In these cases, companies are usually nurturing a traditional model for innovation, when only the R&D department is encouraged to innovate. The new idea of innovation is that the whole organization should be involved.
Many companies struggle to foster a culture of innovation that engages and empowers employees across the organization. Instead, they rely on their R&D departments to come up with new ideas and solutions, while the rest of the organization focuses on more traditional business operations.
This approach can create a siloed culture that supresses creativity and limits the potential for innovation. It can also lead to missed opportunities for growth and competitiveness, as companies fail to tap into the diverse perspectives and ideas of their employees. In these cases, a bigger transformation in the company’s innovation culture needs to be conducted.
Why are employees not engaged in innovation?
The first step in addressing the challenge of employees not being engaged in innovation is to understand why this is the case. As we have discussed earlier in this article, the root cause generally comes from the decision-maker level. If the processes in an organization are structured in a way that does not allow the whole organization to innovate and innovating across the organization is not encouraged, the outcome is most probably according to that.
However, there can also be several reasons why employees may not be motivated to innovate, including:
- Lack of awareness: Employees may not be aware of the company’s innovation strategy, goals, and initiatives, or they may not understand their role in contributing to innovation.
- Fear of failure: Employees may be afraid to take risks and try new things for fear of failure, or they may not feel supported by their managers or peers.
- Siloed thinking: Employees may be stuck in their own functional areas and not have opportunities to collaborate and share ideas with colleagues from other departments.
- Lack of incentives: Employees may not see any tangible benefits or rewards for innovating, or they may perceive innovation as risky and therefore not worth the effort.
How can the innovation potential be unlocked?
To unlock the potential of innovation across your organization, you need to create a culture that values and rewards creativity, experimentation, and risk-taking. This requires a comprehensive approach that aligns innovation with the company’s overall strategy and vision and engages employees at all levels. Here are some steps that companies can take to do this:
- The board of directors acknowledges the challenge
The only way to start such transformation as shifting a company to a new kind of innovation culture, is by starting the transformation from top to bottom. This means that the board of directors must have first acknowledged the need for such transformation and thus, they are engaged in making the change happen.
- Conduct a thorough assessment of the company’s culture and processes*
To unlock the potential of innovation across the organization, it’s important to start by understanding the current state of the company’s innovation culture and processes. This can involve talking to employees, managers, and key stakeholders, and reviewing the company’s innovation strategy, policies, and incentives.
- Develop a strategy for the cultural transformation
Based on the assessment, companies can identify the root causes of why employees are not engaged in innovation and develop a comprehensive strategy that sets clear goals and metrics for the innovation cultural transformation. The strategy should establish a foundation for a comprehensive plan that delineates specific initiatives and actions aimed at fostering a culture of innovation throughout the entire organization, extending beyond the confines of R&D.
- Assess the company’s vision and align the strategy with it
In order to achieve success, it is crucial to evaluate the company’s vision and ensure that the cultural transformation strategy aligns with it. It is essential for companies to assess whether their vision is truly innovative and determine whether the organization is actively working towards realizing it. A well-crafted strategy goes beyond mere alignment with the company’s vision; it serves as a roadmap that guides the organization towards the realization of that vision. By integrating the innovation strategy fully with the long-term vision, companies can ensure that the actions and initiatives outlined in the strategy are specifically tailored to bring the vision to fruition.
- Provide training and support across the organization
To help employees at all levels think creatively and contribute to innovation, customized training and support should be provided. It is important that all employees understand what innovation means and how they can contribute in it. Once the innovation strategy is made, everyone in the organization should be aware of the strategy and long-term vision. Innovating across the organization can be started with innovation workshops for employees to innovate together with colleagues from different departments.
What are the benefits?
By unlocking the potential for innovation across your organization, you can gain a significant competitive advantage when obtaining a broader set of perspectives into innovation. The competitive advantage can be reached by:
- Developing new products and services that meet evolving customer needs and preferences.
- Discovering new customer segments.
- Creating new markets and revenue streams.
- Improving operational efficiency and reducing costs.
- Enhancing the company’s reputation and brand value.
- Attracting and retaining the current talents who are motivated by the opportunity to innovate and make a meaningful impact.
*Vinco has developed an Innovation Indicator Vindi© to detect underlying cultural challenges that may constrain successful innovation.
Innovation Indicator Vindi© is a digital tool that measures innovation ambiance in an organization. Vindi© measures the current state and the desired state of the innovation atmosphere in your organization. In this way, we detect innovation gaps, and we are able to tailor-make needed steps for improvement: an innovation strategy, for instance, that will enable a greater rate of innovation success. Vindi© is based on the relevant scientific business & innovation theories.
Our Innovation Indicator is a perfect way to start an innovation improvement project for an organization. Vinco provides you the whole process: from assessment of the current innovation state with Vindi© to creating a holistic innovation strategy and finally, implementing it together with training across the organization.
Need help to unlock innovation potential?
Contact us to plan our first meeting!
You may be interested
In this article we discuss: Does working from home damage innovation? How management needs to adapt? Possible solution: The actor-oriented structure Additional tips to succeeding […]
Digitalization is not the same as innovation, but digitalization can be an important factor that will inflame innovation. Many innovations resulted from digitalization through enabling […]
Design thinking and culture Does your company deliver services, or deal with customers of any kind? Do you have employees operating machines and tools? The […]
Fostering innovation is key to growing your business and necessary to stay ahead of the competition. The two sectors that spent the most on R&D […]
Did Apple disrupt the market? Did the launch of iPhone make Apple a market disruptor?
3 important tips you can learn from the Covid-19 crisis to excel in your innovation endeavors!
Do all your innovation solutions make money? Here are 3 steps on how to create a sustainable innovation portfolio!
Would you like to have a portfolio of innovative solutions that do not make money?
In this post we cover: What is in common among persistent innovators during and after the 2008 crisis? How will the Covid-19 crisis affect […]
How can we expect that the (coronavirus) crisis will affect innovation output?
Innovation is a very frequently used term. Everyone talks about innovation. We hear phrases like disruptive innovation, incremental innovation, architectural innovation, radical innovation… But how […]
In less than three months, the spreading of the coronavirus has proven to be catastrophic for hundreds of thousands of people. At the time of […]
Coronavirus (or Covid-19) has caused the world to turn upside down in a very short time. As of last week, the picture in Norway has […]
SSB sin statistikk viser at i Norge var det ca. 65% av norske foretak som hadde noen type av innovasjonsaktivitet i perioden 2014-2016. Dette er […]
Sesam Parkering AS gikk konkurs forrige uke. De hadde de beste parkeringsplassene i Bergen sentrum og den nærmeste parkeringsplassen til hoved terminalen på Flesland. De […]
BT har skrevet et innlegg om Bergen Kommune (BK) sitt initiativ «Digital Kultur Plattform». Jeg har ledet forprosjektet (gjennom engasjement i Capgemini) i vår og […]
The city of Bergen invited Michela Magas for visit in May as a part of the Festspillene[i] and launching of the Bergen Nå(Now) project. I […]