Create Innovation Culture Now With Creative Tools for Innovation

Understand the importance of cultivating sustainable innovation culture in your organisation, and how you can do so with tools for innovation.

Innovation culture is often a topic that comes up in our conversations with organisational leaders. We’re not surprised—after all, it is a cornerstone for success in many companies. In our VUCA world, the only thing that’s stable is the need for change. Creating a culture of innovation enables an organisation to keep up with shifting landscapes. They not only survive but thrive as they adapt to the changing trends of consumers, competitors, society and technology. Innovation is often confused with idea management—the process of capturing valuable insight through alternative thinking. While idea management is part of the process, innovation management refers to the big picture, from ideas to execution. It is a management process shaped by an organisation’s leaders and company culture. Every skilled professional needs access to resources, knowledge and technologies that can support them and develop their innovative performance. And that’s where it is important to select the right tools for innovation. So why do we need innovation? What can we do to create optimal conditions for innovation culture in the workplace? And how can we use tools for innovation to support us?
what is innovation culture

What is Innovation Culture, and What Makes It Great?

Many organisations have heard about the idea of an innovation culture. But not all of them understand what it is about, or how they can bring it to their organisations. So let’s start from the top. What is company culture in the first place? Corporate culture is essentially defined by three elements:

  1. Environment: The set of values, attitudes and beliefs that an organisation follows
  2. People: The way its people are, how leaders choose to manage and lead their teams, and how employees choose to work accordingly.
  3. Process: The way that things are done, through its systems, processes and business models

All three elements carry influence over one another—something that many leaders fail to consider. Perhaps, this could explain why some organisations fail to implement effective innovation processes. No matter how much they try to institutionalise the innovation process within their business model, they fail without the right people and the right environment. Leaders treat innovation as a process, ad-hoc ideation sessions to generate as many ideas as possible. But effective innovation is about sustainability, and that means embedding it within the organisation’s culture as a whole, instead of trying to integrate it as a separate business model entirely.

At SoundWave, we define innovation culture to be: ‘An environment that nurtures creativity, advancement and value through processes and tools for innovation that leverages creative and critical thinking needed for change. It is a celebration of unorthodox thinking and measures, going beyond the ‘usual way of doing things.  Effective innovation culture comes from creating an environment that is psychologically safe, for employees to speak up, make their contributions and be part of the creative process.
This doesn’t necessarily mean comfort or keeping to the status quo. Rather, it is more of a management process where people are valued for bringing their unique contributions to the table. It celebrates going against the conventional way of doing things, challenging the ‘usual way’. Innovation doesn’t have to be big, grandeur ideas. It can also be present in small, new possibilities that add up to the bigger picture. Take Starbucks for example. What started out as a coffee shop has now boomed into a global empire that changed coffee cultures all over the world. Now if you step into a regular coffee store, you may unconsciously be using ‘Tall’, ‘Grande’ and ‘Venti’ instead of small, regular, and large. That is the power of innovation at its best. 
why build an innovation culture

Why Build A Culture Of Innovation?

Establishing a culture of innovation isn’t simply about generating new ideas, products or services. The entire innovation process requires consistency and a planned strategy. It works well when it is merged with other tools for innovation. In its brilliance, it can be a company’s biggest asset, increasing overall agility and growth.

Innovation Culture Gives You An Edge

Every organisation seeks to stand out from the crowd. Any successful product or service that results from the innovative process can definitely propel a business forward. It opens out the avenues of new possibilities. In this increasingly globalized world, it is important for companies to stay innovative and think ahead of the market. Otherwise, these companies may risk scrambling behind as their competitors overtake them! There was a time in the world where you would mention the world cellphone, and one’s mind immediately goes to Nokia. At the height of their success, Nokia was selling in millions, with tight control over supply chains. While Apple was no longer a new business at that point, they were considered to be overambitious for trying to penetrate into a challenging market. No one thought that the new products from Apple stood a chance. But their innovative prowess came through, and today, we are living in a different world powered by their ideas. Creating an innovation culture helps you differentiate yourself not just in the eyes of your customers, but amongst your employees too. Ensuring that there is a shared vision brings business success.

Innovation Culture Leads to Opportunities

…and we’re not just talking about new business or commercial opportunities. No doubt, new products and services come out of the innovation process. But the greatest thing about it is the opportunities it presents for your employees—to have the safety to speak up, challenge the status quo, generate new ideas, and be driven by creativity in order to continue the cycle for successful innovation. Amazon has earned the title as one of the best places to work for innovators. Their disciplined innovative business model allows a unique framework that they refer to as the PRFAQ format. This is a submission form that takes a press release format. Employees outline their vision for the product at launch, fill in a basic FAQ component that highlights customer benefits, and provides answers for theoretical customer questions. Ideas are evaluated and shared, and once it is approved, it moves to the funding stage for launch. This is how Amazon’s most successful products, such as Prime Now, Amazon Go, and Alexa, have been conceptualised! Innovative culture can be the gateway to empowerment for your employees. Where there is better culture for your employees, there are breakthroughs in ideas, performance, and productivity that lead to business success.

Innovation Culture Improves Your Company’s Value

Companies that have a functioning culture of innovation are always more valuable. Investors would be keener on organisations that make use of tools, resources and technologies to come up with ideas that boost their own efficiency and drive profits. At the dawn of the internet age, Netflix was the only player in the market who saw their opportunity to cater to the untapped segment of online shoppers. They started off as an online rental tool, where consumers were able to select and rent DVDs and have their selections delivered to them. As they grew and continued to innovate, their business model was revised to offer subscription-based streaming, making it more personalized. This new business approach proved to be a disruption to the way we experience entertainment altogether. With innovation comes new ideas, and therein lies the inherent value of a company. tools for innovation

Why Do We Need Tools for Innovation?

Imagine that you’re a captain on a ship. What would you need to get to your destination? One would be the right team members. The other would be the right kind of tools that you have at your disposal. Innovation management doesn’t happen on its own. Like all successful business models, it is a disciplined process. Often when we speak of innovation, creativity becomes part of the picture. In creating an innovation culture that is sustainable, it is important to inculcate creativity within the people of an organisation.  Contrary to popular belief, creativity isn’t a gift that some people seem to magically have a natural ability for. It is a skill and an important one that can be fostered with the right kind of creativity tool. Creativity tools can be categorised into two types. There are tools that encourage divergent thinking, the generation of as many business ideas as possible. Then, on the other hand, there are tools that focus more on convergent thinking, looking at filtering or merging these ideas into one. By making use of creativity tools for innovation, leaders have a clear framework to refer to. Team members are able to keep track of the entire innovation process and achieve concrete results. It can also prove useful as a starting point for them to generate new ideas and explore them further. Employees also become more motivated when it comes to collaboration and idea management. In turn, this leads to successful innovation. tools for innovation

Fostering Culture With Tools for Innovation

Changing culture starts with the norms and values that inspire the innovation process. Here are some ways that you can use tools for innovation for better innovation management:

Creating a Safe Culture for Innovation

Part of the innovation process is idea generation. This involves people coming together to collaborate and share their thoughts. Unfortunately, some workplace environments may not be conducive in allowing their employees to make their input in the idea generation process. Team members may not feel comfortable speaking up, asking questions or sharing their ideas in fear of being disregarded. Through the use of a tool or a suite of tools, leaders can empower their employees by making them an integral part of the creative process. They will be reassured that their ideas will be valued and their voices will be heard. In turn, such psychological safety will continue to reinforce creativity for innovation, and encourage more proactiveness and collaboration in the organisation.

Level Up By Training in Innovation Tools and Methods

Showing keen interest in the success of your team members and employees can go a long way in establishing a culture of innovation in your organisation. Encourage your people to grow, gain knowledge and help others by providing opportunities or signing them up for training and development. For example, SoundWave’s own accreditation programme allows people to be trained in the use of the tool. Those who successfully complete the course become SoundWave Accredited Coach Practitioners, certified to use the tool for culture building in their own organisations.

Using Tools For Innovation to Change Company Culture

As time goes, the way we work evolves. The standards, guidelines and policies that were first imposed may no longer be relevant to what was set before. Using tools for innovation may open doors for leaders to revisit outdated policies that may be hindering growth. soundwave tools for innovation

SoundWave as A Tool For Innovation

What makes SoundWave different and unique from other tools is that it enables both convergent and divergent thinking. The flexibility of the concept also allows it to work well with almost every other tool for innovation out there. This can be a gamechanger for how organisations approach the creative process. Everything starts with conversation. SoundWave is the starting point for leaders and team members to be able to generate new ideas and drive action. Through SoundWave, leaders and team members build the quality conversations they need in order for effective innovation. It provides a common language for them to use that generates the necessary conditions for growth. Creating an innovation culture is important for the overall health of the organisation. Regardless of whether you are new to the process, or if you are on the verge of transformation, there are important conversations to be had in order to deepen the impact of innovation in your organisation.  Reach out to us to find out more about how we can help foster a culture of Successful innovation today.

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