Delivering an innovation culture shift – the practical point of view

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Right intention, wrong execution. Working with a large enterprise began in the usual way: the Innovation Team in a room discussing their objectives. Early on, however, it was very clear that this journey would fall to the common pitfalls that intuitively seem like the correct answer, but, with more insight, quite clearly hinder the culture shift.

The Innovation Team felt it was their responsibility to own all steps of the process and therefore drive the change from a centralised team. It didn’t work. A lack of buy-in from the organisation and confusion about the relevance of the campaign led to reluctance from others to participate and a negative perception about the Innovation Team’s intentions – the cultural shift was stopped dead in its tracks. This all could have been avoided.

Disruptive innovation landscape

An innovative culture does not spontaneously emerge, organisations work hard to build one. As a Senior Onboarding Manager at Wazoku, I have overseen the delivery of innovation programmes throughout a wide range of organisational structures, sizes and industries. The question I get asked most is ‘how do we get this right?’ There are key components that can greatly impact your cultural change from the outset when well done.

The Team – The REAL driving force behind your cultural change

As with everything, a change in culture needs to begin somewhere. When starting a project, we normally look at creating teams around subject matter experts with direct experience in delivering the project at hand. However, when we look at changing a culture, are there really such things as experts? The team needed to create a cultural shift in your organisation is quite possibly the most important step in this journey. If you select a group of ‘experts’ to delegate tasks to your organisation, you will have the actions of your innovation strategy achieved quickly, but you may have missed the exact cultural change you are wanting in your first step. Find people around you who are genuinely enthused by the notion of a cultural change, from all levels of the organisation and job roles, as they will become the champions of the desired change who will organically spread the message – ’We are the culture of this business, this change is for us.’

To read the full article, visit The Future Shapers

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