The Innovation Imperative: Are You Talking or Doing?
One of the most frustrating things I see leaders do is to preach innovation within their organization but not back it up with any action. Everyone likes to talk about the importance of innovation, but few act upon it.
Innovation can only happen when leaders create an environment where people are encouraged and allowed to innovate. It has to become a culture shift, and for many organizations this is difficult because it requires change. But without change, there is no innovation.
So what exactly is innovation? It’s not just about creating a new product. Innovation involves the generation of new ideas. It’s about a constant pursuit of excellence and improvement.
Innovation is a mindset. It’s understanding that you have to try new things and accept the fact that you will fail along the way.
Innovation involves looking ahead and anticipating where industry shifts will take place in order to determine how customers can best be served.
How can leaders cultivate innovation?
1) Hire the right people—people who have the capacity to think strategically and embrace change. People who pursue excellence and desire to continually improve.
2) Create an environment where change can occur. This means allowing your people to explore opportunities, take risks, and question the status quo. It also means investing resources in innovative ideas and initiatives.
3) Continually communicate with your team. Leaders must lead the way when it comes to innovation. They must cast the vision for innovation and consistently reinforce that vision so that everyone understands where the organization is going and what role they play in making it a reality.
Organizations are often sitting on a wealth of intellectual capital that is being overlooked because they are too stuck in their old way of thinking. When they create a culture of innovation, that intellectual capital is unleashed and great things happen!
Whether you run a large company, school, non-profit, or church, every organization should create a culture that embraces innovation and change. This is the only way to ensure that you stay relevant and adaptable in an every-changing environment.