Culture eats strategy, and innovation, for breakfast. Innovation tools and methods won’t matter if your culture resists innovation. Inertia, overriding priorities, lack of skills and misaligned compensation doom innovation from the start.
Innovation is a change management challenge. Innovation changes internal processes and priorities, and requires new skills. Change management is important for innovation success, along with a focus on compensation and rewards, and improving communication.
Read our white paper about creating a Creating an Innovation Culture.
Factors that block or enable innovation
When we talk about “culture” we mean the attitudes, perspectives and expected behavior of the people in the firm. Culture is a powerful but intangible force that can block innovation or sustain it. Your team needs to develop a positive attitude toward innovation and eliminate the “not invented here” mentality.
Many innovation challenges and misfires are due to poor or inadequate communication. Innovation is risky and uncertain and requires change. People need to know why the change and risk is important. Constant communication, through a range of channels, is one factor in changing a corporate culture.
There are few full time innovation teams. Most participants have “day jobs” where their evaluation, compensation and advancement are determined. You must incorporate evaluation metrics that assess innovation activities in every employee’s plan, and build compensation programs, recognition systems and other intrinsic and extrinsic rewards systems to motivate and sustain innovators.
Our teams work closely with your innovation leaders, executives and people who have the ability to impact corporate culture, compensation and rewards. Changing a corporate culture to embrace innovation takes commitment, time and perseverance. These activities can span months of intense focus.
Examples of our work
For a large high technology corporation, we reworked evaluation programs and compensation schemes and developed a recognition system that ensured that everyone who participates in innovation activities is recognized and a portion of their evaluation is based on innovation activities.