I’ve been consulting with a company over the past two years to help create a culture of innovation. We’ve made tremendous progress and are seeing evidence of real cultural change. In our first year over 150 ideas were submitted and almost a third were implemented. But more importantly, people are now thinking about how the business can be improved, and approaching their managers with ideas. Managers are much more open and responsive to those ideas. And everyone sees ideas being implemented and takes that as the norm. This is what tells us the culture is truly changing.
How did we do it?
Early on we established an Operational Framework for submitting, evaluating, tracking and implementing ideas. We developed a Marketing Framework for communications, promotions, recognition and celebration. We put in place a Support Framework to create an environment aligned with innovation. And we instituted a Management Framework with a guiding team, an executive sponsor, and regular meetings to track progress and, periodically, recalibrate the plan.
What’s the difference between this approach and the typical initiatives that fail? We approached it as a system. A system focused on people. A comprehensive approach so that everything consistently and continually points people in the right direction. So it’s not just a project. It’s how the business operates.