You may have seen our report on the status of innovation in the UK published in October 2015, where we introduced the concept of EveryDay Innovation. This is an approach that implies that in truly innovative organisations, innovation is part of everyone’s job, in every department and role.
While this idea makes sense, sometimes knowing what to implement or where to start can be difficult. For this reason, we have come up with a few steps for you to become becoming an EveryDay Innovator.
1- Define the true innovation drivers for your organisation
Planning is, at this stage, a very important step – the proverb “failing to plan is planning to fail” is a good motto to remember at this stage. Think about what it is that you and your organisation want/expect to achieve? Why do you need to innovate? Top tip: Outcome driven change has proven to be more effective and stickier and it helps stakeholders stay focused on a vision.
2 – Assess your innovation readiness and your current innovation maturity
No two organisations are the same and each and every one of them will be at a different stage of innovation. To find out where you stand and how you score against the five pillars of EveryDay Innovation (Strategy, Leadership, Management, Culture and Process & Tools), assess your organisation’s innovation maturity using Innovation Pulse. Your starting point will become clearer and this assessment of your current capabilities will help paint the full picture of the status of innovation in your business and what needs to be done to create a culture of innovation.
3 – Define your innovation strategy and align your innovation activities to this strategy
After the assessment is completed, you will need to interpret these results and decide what your objectives are. You will by now know what your strengths and weaknesses are, and where to find existing pockets of innovation. Define your priorities, take some time to find your starting point and think about which tactics would work best to achieve your goals. Don’t try to do it all at once: focus on the right areas at the right time. Look at the tools you are already using to drive innovation – consider adding an idea management solution to increase the reach of your innovation efforts throughout your whole organisation.
4 – Identify innovation “quick wins” and the longer term programmes of work
Initially, look for “quick wins” that will set innovation in motion and allow the organisation to obtain early successes. This is a great way to get the process started as it will help build momentum, as well as show stakeholders and the greater organisation some results. This will act as motivation and is a good way of showing everyone how much can be achieved if everyone gets involved. You should also at this point start planning the longer term objectives.
5 – Measure your results against your goals and KPIs
Measuring is of utmost importance but defining what to measure is no easy task. Engage key stakeholders from across the business to define a consistent set of metrics that will enable you to evaluate what is working and what needs to be changed. By this time, you should have your goals and KPIs well defined, so the impact of your innovation programme can be evaluated against. Top tip: when picking the right metrics, consider all aspects of the innovation process, including the culture shift occurring in your organisation.
6 – Embrace agile thinking
When putting plans into practice, it is more than natural that not everything will be exactly as expected. Don’t be afraid to experiment – in this phase, it is important to try new things, fail, pivot, learn and iterate. The main thing to keep in mind at this stage is to fail fast and move on. Be pragmatic and avoid trying to do too much at once – that way the process will be easier to control and measure the impact of.
7 – Communicate, collaborate and co-create
Develop your communications strategy by devising early on an engagement plan, making the right people are involved from across the organisation. Identify who your advocates are and involve them closely in the process. If the organisation is early in the innovation process, it is worthy to measure the behavioural changes and track any changes in participation levels and do the necessary tweaks for improvement.
8- Repeat – Iterate
Now that you’ve set the process in motion, you will start to have an idea of what works and what doesn’t. What have you learned so far? Chances are, quite a lot. By this point, you should make any tweaks and adjustments to the processes you have in place, always with an eye on the end goal. The bottom line is: repeat what works, scrap what doesn’t.
9- Celebrate success, reward and recognise your innovators
By rewarding the best ideas, you will be motivating staff to engage and promoting a truly innovative culture in your business. By celebrating the successes, you’ll be sending a positive message to the whole organisation and cementing the new culture of innovation.
By the end of this process, your organisation should start seeing some results and a real culture of innovation will be emerging. Achieving a culture of innovation readiness is a long-term undertaking and a continual process, not a one-time event. The rewards can lead to competitive advantage, engaged stakeholders and increased customer loyalty.
For more ideas and suggestions on how to become an EveryDay Innovator, download our free guide.