We are in a phase of development wherein “Innovation” is an effective means to success, owing to the constantly changing business environment. Essentially, innovation is the only way for organisations to spearhead a strong cultural shift when expanding globally, sustaining success trajectory and ultimately gaining long-term business benefits. With continuous innovation, it is assured that people develop a creative confidence, self-assurance and also the ability to come up with out of the box ideas in order to collaborate and impact the desired changes in the processes around them. Not only does it challenge the status quo to push employees to go beyond the regular and provide creative insights to look at things from a different perspective, but parallelly revitalizes the strategies as per the changing business demands, to stay ahead of the competition.
Small strides Big Goals
Words like “change” and “innovation” often strike hesitancy in the minds of those ensconced into their comfort zone and do not want to challenge their own limits any further. Typically, people who may be hesitant about diving into the deep end, starting with small innovations and ideas can be an excellent segue, as they are much less daunting and easier to implement. Organisations must always think of innovation as a spectrum - small but incremental changes can be introduced before moving up to the more disruptive and transformative innovations on the other end. Introducing small changes can make a real difference in the longer run, by acting as a stepping stone to build up to bigger, more transformational ideas.
Technology and innovation evolve alongside. Technology aids in providing innovative minds a ‘right boost’ to resolve complex business situations more effectively. For instance, Cloud and Mobile technologies drive innovation by helping the employees collaborate with the teams and brainstorm great ideas. Innovation around new-age technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Analytics, and Business Intelligence help an organization to build new business models, service offerings, revenue streams and internal procedures quite efficiently by leveraging the existing assets in a whole new exciting and profitable ways. This ultimately leads to the overall sustainability of the business as per changing industry standards.
Catalysis of Innovation
By making innovation a way of life at work, you can leverage your immensely diverse workforce in an inclusive pursuit of creativity by discovering bright minds and pruning their talent to become prodigies in the organizational processes. Moreover, by encouraging cross-functional idea generation and converting your employees into change makers, it is possible to find disruptive solutions for any process demanding improvisation or any challenge obstructing optimal output. Let’s have a look at two critical steps that an organization must take to build an innovation-first work culture:
Adapting as per the changing workplace dynamics and trends
Today, with digital transformation and ongoing social progress, business processes, workspaces and social norms are all altering with remarkable developments. Organisations should therefore design their workspace in order to boost the social relationship between their employees. By refurbishing traditional open-plan offices, it should provide workstations that generate opportunities for people to collaborate and spark creativity.
Fostering and building a culture of continuous Innovation
Empower your employees to believe that they are adding value and can contribute to the progress of their company. Organisations should therefore provide platforms that encourage employees to put forth new approaches, methods, and algorithms to solve a problem in a much simple yet effective manner.
Essentially, Innovation is a top-down approach that flows radically. Leaders and upper management being the influencing factor – both at macro (organization level) and micro (personal) level, should encourage meaningful dialogues, embrace challenges as opportunities, provide freedom and not stifle the processes with interference, recognize successful attempts and go beyond awards to encourage to convey key values of innovation.All in all, there shouldn’t be any hindrance in terms of hierarchy/designations for employees to share their voice and making futuristic contributions to the business strategy. Ideally, a culture of openness and transparency is the way when organizations fosters innovation in the best manner.
The Big Picture
Clearly, with the help of innovative ladders, organisations can easily create inroads into the new and untapped territories along with improving their customers’ experiences. Let’ see some of the core benefits that an organization ‘as a whole’ derive by incorporating innovation into their daily routine includes:
- Unleashing the power of employees and empower them to create, invent and innovate new products, processes, and services
- Creating a progressive workplace that fosters creativity, problem solving capabilities and thereby creating a platform of growth for its biggest asset, the employees.
- Increasing overall ROI to shareholders, as a direct outcome of creating effective and more productive business processes.
- Increasing business value by making it an attractive deal for the stakeholders, or for any mergers/ acquisitions.
- Making productivity and efficiency gains to increase profitability, by significantly reducing the costs on any wasteful activities.
- Competing successfully to respond the industry disrupters, increasing the market share and extending the product life cycles.
- Responding quickly by developing the internal capabilities in both human and technology resources to change the direction and do things differently.
- Enhanced employee engagement and motivation by understanding the knowledge gaps amongst workforce and creating methods to address those in time.
From competition perspective, staying relevant is directly proportional to staying innovative. If you are not constantly striving to find newer ways to grow, you’ll soon be left behind by the competitors who are.
Innovation effects every facet of a company - from sales, to team dynamics, to customer relations. As the need for innovation gets prevalent, the responsibility of taking the responsibility rests on everyone’s shoulders equally. Each member of a team should focus on finding new ways to be successful, and this should be reinforced and supported by management or leadership. Only when a common goal of continuous innovation exists, you and your team will be able to stay ahead of the competition.
Innovative culture is a long-drawn out process that doesn’t happen over-night – therefore, sustained efforts and attitude is the key. Initially, at some level or the other, there exists certain mental roadblocks that gets difficult to deal with - resistance to change in employees, lack of right skills to take the change positively (which requires up-skilling), lack of insights and experience amongst the leaders which refrains them to have a comprehensive view of thesuggested ideas.
All these hurdles arrive more at the execution level and there forean organization has to set a clear objective of innovation, at the onset of the journey itself. As rightly said, with great power comes great responsibility, it is therefore critical to have a well- defined and thoughtful plan that will help in right execution of the initiative and maintain a constant momentum to sustain the culture of innovation throughout.
Innovation leads to Progress
Innovation energy should be fuelled and collaborative creativity must be given a platform. Undoubtedly, tremendous efficiencies are experienced because of the development and use of new and innovative strategies. The best way to experience this is when distinctly different ideas come from different minds. This is the only way you’ll come up with distinct ideas that you can group to achieve an innovative approach from what has always been done. And yes, there are no bad ideas though they may not be well-timed.
In a nutshell, try and leverage this new age of innovative minds who envision and co-create unique, audacious and abundant blue oceans and who know precisely how to be different, think and act differently to make a difference in the ways that people value and cherish. So, if you really want to succeed, it is important that you are passionate enough in making innovation a way of your life at your workplace so as to impact the overall business growth and enable it to thrive successfully amongst the competitors.
About the author
Snehashish, Denave’s Global Chief Executive Officer, spearheads the strategic goals of the company while being instrumental in building the company’s future roadmap.
He founded Denave 19 years ago with a vision to to fill the void in the industry of a service provider that can provide end-to-end sales enablement solutions with clear focus on revenue acceleration, ROI optimization and measurable impact. In his role, he has a clear focus on operational excellence, innovation, expansion and profitability.
Apart from Denave, Snehashish has also co-founded India’s largest SME buying club- Power2SME, a B2B e-commerce company amongst few other profitable co-founded ventures.