Building a culture of Innovation – 5 points worth considering

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Daily our Prime Minister is reported in the press as promoting and prompting the need for Australia to be more innovative, become more agile, and to become smarter in the way we do things. This morning I attended the launch of a new book titled Building a Culture of Innovation – a practical framework for placing innovation at the core of your business.

I am yet to read the book in its entirety, however it is certainly on my must read list over Christmas. One of the authors, Derek Bishop, provided some valuable insights into what he and his co-authors have captured in the book from their work in this area.

He believes there are a number of essential elements that are a necessity for a culture of innovation to prosper in any organisation.

  • You need to get the basics right and firmly embedded; the basics being:
    • Comprehensive understanding of the existing culture,
    • Clear Purpose, Mission and Values,
    • A well-defined compelling case for change.
  • The senior leaders need to be aligned, and without exception must be willing to sponsor an innovative culture; it cannot be driven by one person or driven by a small group.
  • Intelligence is essential. Data gathered to support innovation is simply facts. Beyond data gathering, organisations need to understand what is really driving their business and this means engaging in an emotionally based discussion with customers. The organisation must develop a comprehensive ability to be able to interpret and understand what the data means whether this is in a business to consumer or business to business context.
  • Without collaboration you will be left behind. It is impossible for organisations to have the time and breadth and depth of skills to build and develop everything they need themselves. Companies have to be prepared to tap into specialist external resources.
  • Speed of delivery is critical as customer needs, preferences, and expectations, are changing faster than most companies are able to respond to.

When asked what he believes are the killers of innovative cultures, the author noted that many traditional organisations access needed skills through acquisition of smaller specialist innovators only to impose their very traditional bureaucratic culture and structures on the smaller company. This not only crushes the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit with the acquired company but ultimately the acquiring organisation itself.

The real value in this book is that it focuses on how to build an innovative culture in any organisation and provides a step by step process that is easy to follow from conception to implementation. It is also written in a way that it allows the reader to dip in and out of the book to find what is relevant to them at the time.

One final point which resonated with those present is that innovative cultures are not driven by the data – they are driven from the people outwards.

Vivente Australia enables leaders and managers to create the conditions that allow their people to do their best work every day thus creating a powerful advantage: the synergy between people, leadership, management, and culture, produces performance that allows your business to achieve its outcomes.

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