The death knell for any organisation is the phrase “because this is how it’s always been done.” This phrase is the mark of inertia and the inability or stubborn refusal to do something new even when all signs point indicate the old way just doesn’t work anymore. We see this manifest particularly in top heavy organisation where process is valued over innovation.
But the most successful and longest lasting organisations remain so because of their ability to adapt with changing times. These are organisations with cultures that foster creativity and innovation, from executive leadership to team development. Indeed, leadership and team development are crucial keys to the innovation equation: leaders set the tone of the culture and teams execute the vision.
Innovation is most likely to happen in environments with:
- A clear and compelling vision
- Goal alignment and interdependence
- Support for creative problem solving
- Focus on execution
- Teams that work well with one another
- Strong cross-team communication
Achieving the ideal alchemy of all of these factors is no easy feat; all present their own challenges. For instance, creative teams are often the strong at the ideation stage of project development, the most innovative teams can also excel at prioritising and executing their best ideas. That means the team needs both dreamers and doers: where the dreamers are often excited by the process of brainstorming new ideas, the doers help the team stay focused and on task.
The role of leadership cannot be underestimated either. Creative innovation can be stifled when team members don’t feel their contributions or valued, or worse yet, when leaders discourage risk taking. To truly foster a culture of innovation, leaders must support efforts at innovation, even when those efforts don’t yield the desired results. Indeed, innovation can only happen in environments where even the clunky implementation of ideas is recognised and rewarded.
Despite the challenges, organisations that develop a culture of creative innovation are more likely to experience both longevity and success. In the end, the culture starts with leadership that values creativity, and is willing to give their teams the space to take risks on new ideas.
Image courtesy of bplanet at FreeDigitalPhotos.net