A lot of entrepreneurs have realized the importance of innovation to survive in today’s business world.
Building an innovative culture in which staff members dare to take risks to think, do and produce
something out of the box may not be an easy task. However, despite the trickiness, here are some
actions which can be put into practice to enlarge the possibilities of the innovative implementation at
work. Most of the actions are addressed at people at the top management level, which will hopefully be
adopted by the managers of all divisions and in the end, the whole employees .
The first thing to note is that innovative culture is not born from modern looking office with facilities and
their trendy looking staff. Innovation comes from thinking and way too often, it lies way beneath the the
appearance of the office and even the company staff. A recent research conducted by the writer of
Mapping Innovation suggests that innovative companies tend to share one major aspect: thoughtful
executives who are brave enough to take charge and be the role model of innovation for the employees
to take after.
As leaders who are in charge of creating innovative atmosphere at the workplace, there are some of the key behaviors that need to done repeatedly as innovative habits.
They should be able to encourage both the internal and external team to use their maximum
potential by harnessing the innovative minds.
They identify and measure staff effort and their contribution for the innovation. In return, they
can wisely maintain these innovators to keep up their work and encourage others to do the
same. Promoting this innovative thinking can be done through acknowledgement (from both
management, colleagues, and external related parties), sense of accomplishment, and
measured rewards, such as promotion and bonuses.
They can foresee problems that customers are likely to face in the future and be of their
interest, and at the same time, keep on challenging the team to work on possible solutions to
handle those problems.
They are open-minded and can always encourage their staff to speak up their mind. This
attitude can be achieved by accepting, considering and appreciating all ideas proposed by the
employees (regardless their compatibility with the company vision). To efficiently filter all the
ideas collected, these questions can be used as guidelines:
o Can this brand new idea make a significant difference?
o If so, what are the things at risk?
o What are the possible challenges?
o How should those challenges or problems be addressed?
The second thing to highlight is to mind the common proverb: two heads are better than one. The truth
is two heads usually mean more ideas, perspectives, solutions and insights. Encouraging the company
team to brainstorm and propose their ideas is an effective way to create an innovative business culture.
To maintain this speaking-up-your-mind attitude, all staff members should be able to keep an open
The next thing to consider are the networks existing inside the company. Based on a study conducted in
2005, the kinds of internal networks that perform best are the ones that have medium closeness or
attachment. It suggests that neither loose nor dense internal networks result in good performance; the
medium networking, however, allows interactions to flow more freely inside the company. To guarantee
innovation success, companies need both close tie of teams members that can work together and the
loose tie of disparate groups.
Last but not least, it is important to note that innovation comes and can be well executed if team
members can collaborate among themselves and with external partners. In this case, MIT,CIA and
Carnegie Mellon have done researches showing similar results pointing out that the most collaborative
teams consist of members with diverse personalities and the work produced by these teams exceed
beyond that of individual geniuses and teams of homogeneous striking personalities.
One of the successful survival business stories that has proven the theory is Xerox. Over fifty years ago
when copying machine was the most earning company product line, a company staff proposed the idea
of the birth of a new product, a laser printer. At first, the company engineers focusing on improving the
efficiency of the copying machine refused the idea. Luckily, the company research division shared the
innovative idea. Years later, the company found out that the sales of the copying machine dropped
significantly and the laser printer was the product line that saved the company from bankruptcy.
Taking both the theory and experience into account, businessmen and women reading this article will
hopefully be able to promote an innovative culture at work.