The 10 Key Elements Of An Innovation Culture

Innovation Culture

Apple. Amazon. Google. What’s the secret behind their success? It’s their ability to innovate. These companies are among the most innovative in the world. And, thanks to their innovation culture, they’re also among the world’s most successful.

But these are tech companies. They should be great innovators. Right?

Innovation drives many tech companies. But it also drives many non-tech companies. Ever hear of Starbucks? How about Whole Foods Market? Or, Coca-Cola?

All are on the Forbes list of 100 of the world’s most innovative companies.

Innovation benefits any company. It can benefit yours.

Why is innovation so critical? It’s a matter of survival. Companies that innovate survive. Companies that don’t wither away.

So if innovation isn’t in your company’s DNA, you’re at risk.

But you can do something about it. You can become an effective leader by studying what other companies are doing then implementing these best practices at your company.

Innovation Culture – The Methodology

The report’s researchers conducted 25 in-depth interviews with innovation leaders—the results of which helped determine the questions for an online survey that generated responses from more than 260 innovation executives worldwide.

The report covers five key areas of innovation:

  • Innovation function
  • Innovation strategy
  • Innovation governance
  • Innovation leadership
  • Innovation culture

The report is insightful. And the most insightful section is the section on innovation culture.

This section discusses the key elements of an innovation culture. Below are 10 of those elements (along with the percentage of respondents).

  1. Openness to others ideas, to change, to exchange (84%)
  2. Innovation considered a core value for the money (74%)
  3. Sharing information, ideas, and results (69%)
  4. Listening to others ideas and pushing them forward (59%)
  5. Acting quickly even outside the plan to capture opportunities (56%)
  6. People throwing out ideas, discussing them, excited about them (54%)
  7. Facilitating and guiding ideas (54%)
  8. Code of trust (41%)
  9. People are aware they have to have new ideas and bring them up (33%)
  10. Going directions you believe in (28%)

You don’t need to have all these elements to have a culture of innovation. But you do have to have many of them.

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    The Source Of Innovation

    Another insight from this section of the report is who respondents think should be innovation’s source. Respondents saw a split between formal and informal sources—with the CEO being the main source of innovation. Nearly 70% of the respondents saw the CEO in this role.

    Other key sources of innovation included peers and co-workers (59%), managers in general (51%), and learning, development, and training (36%).

    Also making the list were innovation managers (33%), chief innovation officer and innovation office (32%), executive sponsor (30%), and internal social media collaboration (24%).

    The last item was seen as a way for co-workers to connect. An intriguing idea, this source scored low among respondents probably because of its newness. Companies are just starting to use this tool as a source of innovation.

    Innovation Culture – Two Key Takeaways

    Two key takeaways emerged from this section: the importance of openness and the need for agility. Clearly, a company’s openness to others’ ideas, to change, and to exchange is dominant. Openness drives the innovation culture.

    But agility comes in a close second. Agility enables companies to improvise when necessary. Otherwise, they’ll fail in a continuous change environment.

    Innovation is the secret behind the success of companies like Amazon, Google, and Starbucks. If innovation isn’t part of your company’s culture, it’s at risk.

    But you can do something about it. Learn what other companies are doing to create a culture of innovation. Then start implementing those best practices at your company.

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