No one ever said innovation was easy. It’s elusive, complicated, and requires impeccable cross-functional communication. But the challenge didn’t stop the 75% of companies that listed innovation among their top three 2021 priories in BCG’s latest global innovation study. The truth is innovation is critical to survival in today’s rapidly changing business climate.
Recently, I had the opportunity to share with Forbes.com what I believe are the three most essential investments companies need to make in 2022 to accelerate innovation. No, the first one is not budget (although financial capital is likely required to move the needle.) Based on my experience, organizations must first prioritize culture, time, and cross-functional relationships to drive successful innovation.
1. Invest in Creating an Innovative Culture
Ultimately, fostering a culture of innovation across the entire organization is key. Leaders who hope to nurture innovation among their employees must develop a tolerance for failure. A surefire way to stifle creativity is by rejecting new ideas too quickly. The problem is that is most managers are rarely penalized for saying “no,” yet they will find themselves in hot water if they approve the wrong thing. Companies that can overcome this mindset by viewing failures as learning opportunities and necessary for progress will foster a safe place for new ideas to grow.
2. Invest Specific Time Toward Innovation
Innovation rarely happens out-of-blue. As leaders, we must discipline ourselves to pursue continuous progress, which means protecting time for team members to be creative. In my experience, hack-a-thons, half-day Fridays, and monthly offsite retreats all focused on fostering innovation have all been excellent ways to drive progress.
3. Invest in Building Cross-functional Relationships
Even once a transformative idea has been identified, companies still face significant challenges in execution. One of the main reasons innovations fail is lack of alignment, which is why cross-functional collaboration is critical. Dedicated cross-functional strategy sessions like the GE workout can be helpful, but leaders should also invest in one-on-one or team-on-team relationship building. When leaders make an effort to break down silos, they also open doors for collaboration and innovation to occur organically.
There is no silver bullet when it comes to innovation. Still, impactful innovation and consistent transformation are possible if organizations are willing to make thoughtful investments in culture, time, and relationships.
To read the complete article, visit Forbes.com.
At Artisan, we work with clients at every stage of the innovation process to help propel their business forward with targeted concept development and rapid experimentation that sets them apart from their peers. If you are interested in discussing your company’s innovation needs, we’d be happy to speak with you to determine if there is a mutual fit.