No matter what field a company is in, when you look at their website they all claim to be innovative. It’d be truly amazing if all these companies were innovative, but I digress, what is innovation? And what happens to companies when they innovate?
What happens when companies innovate?
Why is it that a company with a chic innovation department and fancy innovation managers is not necessarily innovative? It’s simple: the other departments don’t feel included. Consequently, they do not identify with the innovative ideas of the chic innovation department. In order to secure long-term innovation, a culture has to be established that supports it, in every department. Why this culture is so essential, is clarified when you understand the results of innovation. The innovation process traditionally follows four specific phases.
- Recognition: Identification of a problem. Where there is a problem,there is the potential for optimization.
- Brainstorming: Solutions to the problem are developed and proposals for improving the process flow are collected. The innovation starts rolling.
- Implementation: Chosen proposals are implemented. Ideas become action.
- Stabilize: The newly implemented processes or the newly introduced software must fulfill expectations and become part of the existing procedures and processes. If this fails, re-enter phase 1. Also figure out why the previous solution didn’t work as expected.
What does it take to make a business innovative?
None of these steps can stand-alone or be left out and only an innovation culture can provides the basic framework for this process. So, how can you create such a culture? How can you transform a company into an innovative one? Here are the most important tips for developing an innovative corporate culture:
- Set targets. To identify what is missing, you need to know where you’re going. You need goals and a vision. These should be in line with those of your employees. They should then be committed to these visions and continually strive to achieve them.
- Create a participatory and secure environment that supports innovation. In order for me to be the most productive and involved I have to feel included and safe. This requires a climate of trust and mutual respect for each other. People must be able to express their ideas, suggestions, feedback and criticism freely, without being ridiculed or ostracized.
- Unterstütze Innovation. Um umzusetzen, muss ich unterstützt und ermutigt werden. Dafür braucht es eine Kultur, in der es auch erlaubt ist, die entwickelten Ideen in die Realität umzusetzen, in der Zeit sowie praktische und finanzielle Hilfe bereitgestellt werden.
- Have quality standards. An environment that sets clear performance standards and whose employees work diligently towards these goals is essential.
Search for innovative employees – why it does not work without them
Looking at this process and the culture of innovation, it is obvious: innovations do not happen by themselves, they are supported. They are discovered, planned, designed, constructed, improved – all by employees. So why then is it that when we talk about innovation we talk about the products and not the people behind these products? Steps in the right direction have already been taken: By making it known that it takes creative and innovative employees in order to create the innovative culture described above. Though these employees have to be found somewhere! We need the unconventional thinkers that make “out of the box” employees but there isn’t a good tool yet to identify these people.
IBM asked over 700 Chief Human Resource Officers about their workforces and published their findings in the CHRO Survey. Promoting creativity and innovation is the major issue and challenge that will continue throughout the coming years. The majority of CHRO’s stated that they want to recruit more innovative employees and, for that, make use of innovative innovative recruitment methods. At the same time, 71% do not use targeted selection tools to pick especially innovative candidates for their companies. Why is there such great need for innovation and innovative employees, when there is a gaping void in the use of appropriate selection tools? There is no shortage of innovative methods in the HR field. Events like the annual HR innovation Slam prove this. So, why do HRMs hesitate to use these innovative selection tools?
With the increasing pursuit for innovation, where it is taken seriously, the need for innovative employees is becoming more urgent. However, they will not be found if everything continues to operate as it has before. To continue with that selection process is downright archaic. Innovation must be found throughout the company. A change is needed, there needs to be a shift toward greater openness in recruitment and more innovation in HR.