Business innovation, ideas, development, collaboration and employee engagement. These are just a few words companies and use when planning on how to grow their business. An inclusive culture however, almost never makes it on the list.
The importance of an inclusive culture for continuous innovation
So, what we have learnt over the years is that companies and organisations fit into three different categories when using innovation to grow their business:
1. The Bravado’s
These types of companies show incredibly nice presentations, write meaningful words on web pages, and have their own headlines in Annual Reports around topics of innovation, employees and development. But do and deliver nothing. Furthermore, no explicit mandate is put in place, no responsibility given or even a role assigned to someone to drive change.
As a result, these type of companies do not create an inclusive culture within their organisation and often stifle creativity.
Two thirds (66%) of organisations say innovation is crucial to survival; yet only 28% say they are innovating successfully to drive growth and increase revenue.
source: PA Consulting – Innovation Matters report
2. The Cautionary Experimenters
These are the companies and organisations that like to dip their toe in the water of change, but still like to err on the side of caution. They will put in place a “working group of leaders” to gather ideas and come up with some great ideas that can achieve interesting results. Consequently, this is a short-lived approach. It won’t be long before the day-to-day business activities will take priority, leaders will stop attending the business innovation meetings, and shortly afterwards the group will be dismantled.
Most of all, these type of companies lack the vision and drive for long-term and sustainable business innovation.
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3. The Visionaries
The final category are those companies and organisations that plan the end-to-end process for an inclusive culture for a continuous innovation model. From the digital platform to capturing ideas, to how employees will interact with each other to spark inspiration and creativity. From how they manage the decision-making process for selecting the right ideas, to how they will be implemented. They will also have thought about, and planned, how to reward and recognise those involved in delivering solutions.
These companies are in for the long-haul when it comes to business innovation. The inclusive culture towards business innovation, increases the odds dramatically for a sustainable programme.
In conclusion, good planning and an inclusive culture are the key priorities when it comes to delivering an open and continuous innovation programme. Involving your front-line workers, who engage with your customers on a daily basis, are best positioned to understand the challenges. They are also uniquely positioned to find probable, and sometimes radical, solutions. So why wouldn’t you include them?