Organizing for an Innovative Culture
New Book Giveaway!!
20 copies available!!
Leave a comment on this guest post by Bella Rushi to become eligible for one of 20 complimentary copies of her new book, The Innovative Executive: Leading Intelligently in the Age of Disruption.
Deadline for eligibility is 09/12/22. International winners will receive electronic version.
Organizations that don’t organize for innovation organize for stagnation.
Business leaders struggle to build a company that stands the test of time and remains effective no matter what the change. They must organize for innovative culture.
Growth is important, but it can also lead to chaos and confusion if not managed correctly.
- Structure enables risk taking.
- Clear boundaries create focus.
- Small experiments and fast iterations reduce risk of failure.
- Identify who manages innovation projects, teams, and goals.
- Measure your company’s ability to enter new markets or create new business models.
Leaders play an essential role in setting the direction and strategy for their company, and in order to create an innovative culture, they need to understand the norms, values, and behaviors within their workplace.
4 ways to organize for an innovative culture:
Build a culture that promotes innovation, has an entrepreneurial mindset and sustainable value creation.
CEO’s steer organizations toward opportunity.
- Make innovation everyone’s duty.
- Train managers to spot and seize opportunities.
- Use an ideation platform to ideate.
- Expand diversity. The best ideas come from collaboration between diverse people.
Your organization’s future depends on creating a competitive advantage that cannot be copied.
Create an environment where innovation becomes second nature for everyone in their day-to-day functions.
Leadership is not about feeling comfortable, but about finding opportunities as they occur even when the numbers suggest otherwise.
What suggestions do you have for building an innovative culture?
Bella Rushi is an innovation management consultant and founder of Symmetri Consulting, which specializes in helping business leaders prioritize and align organizations for efficient innovation. Rushi is the author of, “The Innovative Executive: Leading Intelligently in the Age of Disruption,” and host of, “The Innovative Executive,” podcast.
If love to hear more about training people to spot and size opportunities. I love the thought of everyone being a part of the innovation.
I resonate the most with #1 – on my team we have a high performing culture around continuous improvement. Specifically, we recognize, discuss, and take some time to explore: “how to make things better” And, we celebrate both the successes and “failures” of this work.
Thanks for the post. I’m interested in how these ideas/strategies might apply in K12 schools.
Our CTO just spoke on this topic to our division; he emphasized the first and last points. Not sure I fully understand the need for an “ideation platform” outside of the manufacturing world; fairly straightforward in the software engineering and data/information worlds. Regarding point two, I have not encountered an innovation training program that was or bogged down in template-ized steps or abstract definitions that are only able to be applied after the fact; curious to this author’s experience.
We use an “innovation platform” within our company in multiple ways, whether for team brainstorming or capturing broad input from the entire company. One of the benefits is that it gives visibility to and allows for inputs from a wide range of people across different functions and at all levels of the company who can build on initial ideas.
The first step is to not actively suppress innovation. Institutional processes that determine “we’ve always done it this way and we always will” need to be addressed and removed. Beyond that I would be delighted to hear the author’s observations!
Transparent, Trustworthy and Positive rewarding environment drives innovative culture
I spend a lot of time with new employee orientation. The collaborative culture piece fits with need for innovative thought and diversity in ideas. It’s so important to emphasize our shared need to embrace all strategies that may reach the same goals.
Great post! As a middle mananger I often rely on the administration team to be the innovators as I execute their vision. I love the idea of bringing innovation to the table ns really owning it!
I work in government. Would love to learn more about innovation in our environment that is so regulated. We try but, it is tough. Pushing innovation to all and getting to test, sounds like it would help so much.
Innovation needs to be safe within the organization. There are going to be ideas that do not work out. However, there are going to be those that also set your company on the right path. Success comes with having both.
What suggestions do you have for building an innovative culture?
When innovative ideas are proposed, make them visible for the organization. Praise the people who contribute innovative ideas. Implement the ones that make the most sense. Employees need to see and believe that innovative ideas are valued and will be acted on.
While experiments are great to learn fast, they have also become very cheap and easy to do…. So, the selection of which experiments to do and which would provide the most understanding will be vital.
I like proposing new things as “pilots” and include a formal debrief session. First it is much easier to get approval as a pilot. It also allows for adjustments which are almost always needed. As the proposer it is also easier on me if things do not go so well-we did not commit this as a forever program and it is easy to walk away. Wins all around!
I’d love to read more, especially around the second quote highlighted in a graphic.
Quoting: “ 1. Make innovation everyone’s duty. 2. Train managers to spot and seize opportunities.” These two suggestions seem contradictory in practice. When ‘everyone’ learns of manager training to ‘spot and seize opportunities’, ‘everyone’ is likely to resent this training of managers, see it as absolving them of creative innovation (expecting managers to ‘assign’ them opportunities upon which to innovate instead of being alert for them themselves), or both.
Looking forward to read the book. This book is the need of the hour. Thank you for your thought to come up with this book.
Inclusion and feedback promotes a free to think, honest, and creative culture without negative reprecussions for contributing 👍
Leaders build innovative organizational cultures by being authentic connectors, trust builders, optimistic drivers, and true influencers. They are always building personal awareness through self-discoveries – listening strategists.
“Organizations that don’t organize for innovation organize for stagnation.” What a simple, yet profound concept.
I’ve found that delivery (AKA, organizing around and completing “work”) is a greater determinant of workplace culture (than leadership attempting to set or ferment culture.)
Everyone needs to be trained/attuned to identify (and act on) potential opportunities for innovative outcomes (and not only managers.) I agree that many managers require additional training (usually when promoted from team-level or individual contributor roles) but in the areas of empathy, listening, and planning (to start.)
#1 resonates with me. I would have to add passion to responsibility for innovation. I’d love to see these precepts carried into the world of education.
Never waste a great disaster they say… and this defines a great leader… those that redirect those they serve to see the opportunities in every situation. As Bella referenced, being prepared is the key!
As an education leader this text would be very helpful in our changing world!
Leadership is not about being comfortable. Crash and burn happens when you think you’ve “arrived” but the reality is the hard work is just getting started.
Often, innovation comes from where one least expects it. In the mid 1980’s I was involved in a major work redesign project at a Colgate Palmolive plant. One of the initiatives was to actively solicit innovative ideas from anybody and everybody and reward them for ideas that were accepted and implemented. The most prolific generator of innovative ideas was one of my employees – a security officer.
Later in life I was working at United Technologies and we were implementing Kaizen and 5S. We always made a point of having a “wildcard” on the team, usually a secretary or a plant nurse. It was amazing how someone not burdened with “experience” can see ideas and solutions no one else can.
Other similar experiences as I was involved in re-engineering workplaces but to Bella’s point, it always starts at the top.
# 1 truly resonates with me. As a university instructor the overall concept appears very applicable to graduate students aspiring to become educational leaders.
We are in the beginning phases of creating a culture of continuous improvement. It has been a mindshift change for some, especially allowing everyone to play a role with innovation. I’m adding this book to my wishlist right now!
My take-away… nurturing a growth mindset will lead to chaos if not managed properly.
I’m curious what ideation platforms you find most productive / effective. Thanks for this post.
Fail fast and learn – continuous improvement is necessary for innovation and it is critical for all employees to be trained to spot and seize the opportunities. This book looks to be a fantastic read!
For some orgs this is vital, like R&D. Others … maybe not so much.
Creating leaders that foster this environment is key. In my company I’ve seen a fair amount of seagull managers, servant leaders, and total hands off types. Finding the balance as a new leader is where I’m at today.
I’m excited to read this book.
This is spot on: Create an environment where innovation becomes second nature for everyone in their day-to-day functions. Without a inviting environment/culture, you’ll never get the innovation you need to succeed.
Yes, I agree that “Leaders… need to understand the norms, values, and behaviors within their workplace.” They also need to set a positive example with their own behaviour and messaging. I’ve noticed that many managers/leaders pay lip service to “innovation” and “change” but resist “new” ideas and activities that are “different” from what they’re used to. Bella Rushi’s post is an interesting discussion starter.
I love the idea that innovation thrives in structure. I think of a well run kindergarten class- the most innovative grade in elementary school. I agree that one must truly understand the norms, values, and behaviors in their organization and I am curious about strategically teaching others (and myself) to seize opportunities.
A agree there needs to be structure, transparency and ability to fail in a safe environment –
Just tapped into the podcasts. Excellent! I think our learning curve is how do we balance structure with innovation. At first, it seems counterintuitive, but to fully innovate, we need to know the norms, and values and culture of the company!
Love the emphasis on how structure and boundaries can help nurture innovation.
Thank you for this post. I think I have much to learn from a book like this. I often speak to my team about the value of innovation and initiative, the difference between the two and how we nurture it. One of the way we think about innovation is to maintain curiosity in all things we do and come across. By staying curious we stay in learner mode and this helps set the stage for innovation. I would love to learn more about ideation platforms, and how to train people to spot and seize opportunities. I constantly ask my team, what are we still curious about?
I can see how innovation is essential especially initially but as the organization reaches a certain age wouldn’t innovation lead to going out of mission of the organization?
“Make innovation everyone’s duty” what a great concept in a structured company. Would love to know how to get the ones at the top to accept innovation.
I am new at “leadership role” therefore i am so looking forward to learning
Great article! My organization would greatly enhance our ability to succeed through collaborative efforts to leverage the numerous years of cross departmental experience versus operating in our current silos.
Great article. I find in my role its hard for leadership to accept change or recognize needs because they are proud of their past innovations but fail to realize they need to be improved upon by future leadership
“Growth is important, but it can also lead to chaos and confusion if not managed correctly” This is what speaks to me this week as I try to manage a lot of upgrades and new systems in our department, while still managing staffing and COVID. This was very inspiring for me this week! Thank you!
I love #2, training managers to spot and seek opportunities!
Very timely, looking forward to receiving a copy of this great book. Been navigating blindly in midst of chaos in recently launched new fund management business start up. Every help given be greatly appreciated.
Two thumbs up on #4: Expand diversity. Having different points of view lead to great collaborations. We sometimes struggle with #1, I think everyone is aware that ‘Its their job to be innovators’ but hard to get people who are heads down to stop and reflect on improvements to the work they’re doing.
I love the points outlined in the post and would love to read the book. Building it into the culture is so important–encouraging people to experiment, to look for opportunities, and to talk through possibilities without a need to immediately nail things down in the service of efficiency. People have to know the leadership believes that innovation can come from anywhere in the organization, and that failures will not be held against them, but seen as an opportunities for learning and growth.
Love this phrase “collaboration between diverse people.” Would love to read the book.
Fully agree, innovation culture is essential and needs both bottom up (“second nature for everyone in their day-to-day functions”) and top down (“Leaders play an essential role in setting the direction and strategy for their company”). Innovation culture also helps to build the capabilities needed to collaborate with external partners to innovate together and co-create business opportunities.
In a disruptive world we have to learn to be comfortable to be uncomfortable. I’d like to hone that skill.
I love the leadership quote! Innovation can and should be everyone’s responsibility. Thank you for the post.
Innovation is a mindset – our people can’t be too afraid to fail or they’ll stop being creative! Would love to read this book!
Growth is important. It is important to know that the “dis-equilibrium” that it creates will cause pain points that will require different levels of monitoring and intervention to continue along the growth driven path. Thank you for the post today as always!
It’s clear that innovation is necessary, the only thing keeping back innovation then is our own imagination, and you cannot force innovation on people or organizations. So then how do you make innovation possible, permissible, viable, sustainable?
Wow , what brilliant topics … I need to know more in order to serve better my team .
I’m contemplating starting my own consulting business (focus on land development). My first focus was going to be survival. “Innovation” of course is in my marketing pitch. But should I be building in this kind of process innovation at start too? I hope to have a team someday, amd if they see results of course it’s easier to sell myself. But I guess I’m stuck on the “survival” aspect.
I wonder if survival requires innovation.