Blog: 7 Rules for Innovation: #6 Company Culture
Seven Rules for Innovation: #6 Company Culture
Oct. 8, 2010 — An interesting paradox exists: Most companies fear change. Yet, they have to resist fear and take serious risks in order to innovate. How do you change that culture of fear that pervades most companies?
Change can be a tremendous opportunity, but there are no guarantees – it can also back fire and cause terrible consequences like profit loss, wasted time and resources, public humiliation, and other dismal failures. On the other hand, fear itself also causes companies to pay out lots of money for quick fixes to problems they should be solving permanently and internally.
So, how can you be sure you’re doing the right thing? Start by basing your innovations on sound principles, rather than on the latest trends, untested methodologies, and spaced-out ideas from self-dubbed “thought leaders.”
One thing is bankable – if you want to beat the competition and own your respective market space, your company will not accomplish this if they operate on a culture of fear. Don’t let the anxiety of ‘being different’ hold you back from delivering new products and ideas. Just test the waters properly first and always follow a sane, proven methodology each and every time.
Culturally speaking, how do you start encouraging innovation, rather than stifling it? Allow your employees to have some time to work on their own projects and improvements, and give them credit for doing so. When it comes to moving ideas and programs through development, eliminate as much of the red tape as possible. Meetings, talks, seminars, studies, reports, and ‘documentation-for-the-sake-of-documentation’ slow people down.
You can fast-track certain projects with a ‘Just Do It’ policy – that is, allowing certain ideas to circumvent the normal process if they come with a strong enough business case and fast-to-prove ROI. Keep in mind that budgeting a small amount of money for these quick-turn projects is crucial. Putting tools in place to streamline certain parts of the process is very important, but make sure these are planned and implemented with strong processes behind them.
Maybe most importantly, you need to sound the sirens from the mountain. Communicate innovation from the top down and let everyone know that innovation will be the priority from now on. Get visionary leaders in there that know how to look at the larger picture and accept feedback from the right places.
Minimize the fear and get your culture right and you’ll get the wheels of innovation rolling.
For more information contact:MindMatters Technologies, Inc.
308 East Main Street
Carnegie, PA 15106
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John Stowell, Director of Innovation, Zep Inc.
"StageTrak is very customizable to your needs. Once it's up and running it's pretty intuitive. It's much simpler to operate than most of its competitors."
"We avoided $750,000 in cost in North American alone last year because we're being more selective and going after better intellectual property."
"Flagpole offers novel social marketing techniques to partner and collaborate with the National Poison Control Center community."
Tom Mauss, Chief Executive Officer
"We were impressed with MindMatters’ entire Step by Step Innovation process. They helped us identify areas where we might fail, and successfully navigated around those obstacles."
"Our R&D idea submissions have tripled over the whole of the previous year."
Gregg Edwards, Chief People Officer
"Allows us to not only capitalize on the brilliance of our employees, but also to collaborate on organizational issues in a much more engaging, satisfying way."
Director of R&D
"The MindMatters software has really worked out for our team. It has enabled us to develop a process that effectively mines the innovative thoughts of R&D. Our invention disclosure count is through the roof compared to pre-MindMatters numbers."
In 2002, 8,254 civil cases related to intellectual property theft were filed in U.S. courts.
U.S. Department of Justice
The fastest-growing U.S. companies tend to foster innovation.
Harnessing Innovation, PriceWaterhouse Coopers
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
All told, 69 percent of the executives who participated ranked innovation as one of their company’s top-three strategic priorities.
Boston Consulting Group Survey
Intellect and innovation are the sources of virtually all economic value, growth, and strategic edge today.
James Brian Quinn, Professor of Management, Dartmouth College
The best way to predict the future is to invent it.
Dr. Alan Kay, Disney Imagineering
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