Creating an Innovation Climate

Setting the Precondition for a Great Results

Have you heard a friend or colleague making fun of his/her superiors because they are doing something “stupid”? On the question “why don’t you suggest a solution?” you get an answer “they wouldn’t listen” or “they don’t care for my thoughts” or “let them do what they want!”

This barrier between employees and the firm – let’s call it “learned helplessness” –
is the characteristic of organizations where employees quickly learn that there is no need for creative thinking or the exchange of ideas. This is rampant, and is a great example of culture that must be changed.

It is easy to see that there is no place for “bottom-up” ideas in such environments. In fact, ideas just don’t have a fertile ground for realization: “This already exists” / “We were this way for years” “Why should we change it?” / “This will not the way it works in the real world!” / “We don’t have time for this!” … there are many excuses that maintain the status quo.

Some reasons why an innovator faces a wall in his corporation are often political (replacing someone who is incompetent), fear of change, envy (“these are not my ideas, why should I support it?” or simply laziness (“why learn new technologies when things could be done in an old way”?)

Change is inevitable, but it comes in steps. After identifying existing barriers, the process of establishing an innovation culture in the organization should be started.

An innovation culture is the essential factor for spurring creativity in any organization. It is created by building an innovation process that includes the idea generation process and the measuring of innovation activities.

An innovation climate is not possible without the support of the leadership of the organization. The task of creating an innovative culture includes the unleashing of creativity of colleagues which will secure the future of the company.

For a start, goals must be defined (short and long-term), leaders must be assigned, measures provided, and of course budgets must be made available. New innovation strategies should be well advertised inside the organization, and the best way is promoting success stories (realized ideas). Anyone in the organization should know about the idea submission process, as well as the rewards that are provided. He or she must also be able to see the status of an idea that is submitted.

In the past ideas were collected using the suggestion box. But today ideas are collected through efficient web-based tools which support not only the idea gathering process but also the participation of individuals in the entire innovation process.

 

By Tomislav Buljubasic | @buljubasict

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