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(Series 3/8) Become Remarkable. Build A Culture Of Innovation

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Question 1: How will having a culture of innovation help businesses achieve their business goals?

Answer: Embracing a culture of innovation means shaking off the shackles of old process and rigid hierarchy, in favour of a more fluid and adaptable way of working in order to provide genuine solutions allied to exceptional customer experiences. And when you are creating products and services which solve a genuine problem and add real value to the customer, then your reward is high performance, competitive advantage and growth.

Question 2: Why Innovation?

Answer: Embedding a culture of innovation into your organisation’s DNA enables you to remove the barriers that stop your organisation from responding quickly and agilely to changes in market conditions and opportunities for growth. Innovation leading organisations know how to design forward-thinking solutions, to spot problems and opportunities before everyone else and to create customer focused solutions better and faster than their competitors.

Question 3: Why is having an innovative culture so important?

Answer: Quite simply because organisations which have fully embedded innovation at the core of their culture and DNA are the ones that will shape the future of business. They are the organisations which will deliver game changing, market leading, products, services and experiences and in doing so will attract loyal customers, talented employees and willing investors.

Question 4: What do you suggest for business leaders that see changing company culture a huge challenge?

 Answer: The thought of any major change can be daunting, particularly if you try and view it all at once. That’s why we’ve devised a six-stage framework which helps senior teams understand their starting point, build a picture of what they want the future to look like through innovation and then to design the most pragmatic approach to move their organisation along a measured roadmap towards an embedded innovation culture. Something we outline in our latest book, ‘Building a Culture of Innovation’.

Question 5: Innovation spectrum – how does that affect an organisation moving to a culture of innovation?

 Answer: Every organisation has its own unique level of innovation maturity. In fact, this maturity level can also vary from department to department within a single organisation. Understanding the innovation maturity mix will enable leaders to design a roadmap which will take their organisation from a known starting point towards an optimised goal in a structured and pragmatic way.

Question 6: What are the initial steps an organisation should take when moving to a culture of innovation?

Answer: The first step is quite simply to know yourself by carrying out a review of your current culture and measuring your starting point in terms of innovation maturity. Realistically speaking, if you don’t know your starting point then you haven’t got a hope of designing a roadmap which will move your organisation, progressively and measurably towards embedding real innovation capability.

Question 7: What’s the best approach for getting buy-in from top management? 

 Answer: That’s a great question which strikes at the heart of culture change. As we say in the book, if it’s not on the top team’s agenda, it’s not going to be in the culture. In the work we do with corporate clients the first thing we do is start by building agreement and alignment across the senior team around innovation because ownership, accountability and personal acceptance are vital if culture change around innovation is going to succeed. Working together on the initial design and development phase always helps senior teams align around the innovation strategy but sometimes there may need to be some tough decisions made if individuals truly feel uncomfortable with innovation methodologies.

Question 8: And what about getting buy-in from the workforce?

Answer: Designing engagement around innovation is every bit as important as designing a future shaped by innovation. Employee engagement best practices are part of the solution but we also recommend the introduction of what we call ‘i-agents’, individuals at every level of the organisation who can help to promote the innovation agenda, inspire people to want to contribute and in-turn, help build innovation as a core capability across the business.

Question 9: What led you to working in the area of innovation? 

 Answer: I guess it was partly down to my original training as a product and industrial designer and also down to my experiences as an entrepreneur and building my own group of companies. I learnt that it’s not enough just to dream up new products and services; to lead the market you have to be able to design forward-thinking solutions which meet a genuine need and marry them with great experiences and new business models to truly differentiate or even disrupt. I strongly believe that building an innovative approach is the solution for shaping the future and that’s why I now work with CEOs and organisations to help them to build their own culture of innovation.

Question 10: What’s the best example you have of a company that succeeded in changing their culture to one of innovation?

Answer: To be quite honest there are so many great examples out there I would be reluctant to choose one over another. We have included a number of innovation success stories in our book, so perhaps that might be the best place to start.

You can connect with Cris Beswisk on Twitter @CrisBeswick or LinkedIn

Click the link to Cris Beswick’s book Building a Culture of Innovation , co-authored with Derek Bishop and Jo Geraghty, and get a 20% discount by using code: WZINNOV20 up to the 31st December 2015.

We would love to know your thoughts on this topic. Comment or tweet us using #EverydayInnovation.

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