I’ve been hanging onto this article from The Wall Street Journal titled “Think Inside the Box”. The article talks about how people are at their most innovative when they work within the constraints they already know. It’s a very interesting piece and you can check it out here.
I’ve always been a believer that, in order for organizational change to really stick, it needs to come from existing culture. Yes, there are times when you have to “shake things up” or “disrupt” in order to make something happen. But that can’t be all the time. Most of the time, we must work within existing culture and processes. It allows us to be the most effective.
KPMG takes the innovative culture conversation one step further in their whitepaper “HR as a driver for organizational innovation”. Their take is that innovation is unique to each company’s culture. No one can innovate exactly like Apple – except Apple. And the role of human resources is to help their business innovate in a way that is authentic and aligns with their organizational culture. You can download a copy of the white paper here.
Innovation continues to be a top priority for the C-Suite. So what can a company do to start talking about how they will deal with innovation?
Define what innovation means. In some businesses, it will mean creating a totally new product or service. In others, it will be changing the value proposition for customers. For employees to understand why innovation is important, they need to know what it means.
Take an innovation audit. No, this isn’t a comparison to other companies. It’s to determine how senior management views innovation. There’s a great mini-audit in the book “Innovation Training” published by ASTD Press. I picked up my copy in the SHRM Store.
Give employees the tools to innovate. The secret to innovation lies in a company’s employees. If a business wants innovation, employees must know how to communicate, collaborate and execute. Technology tools are helpful but they aren’t a substitute for human creativity.
Companies that want to lead their industry are spending time on innovation. And they’re not leaving it to chance. They’re also not copying another company’s actions. Because they know the best way to innovate is to leverage the people and corporate culture they already have in place.