Instilling an Innovation Culture

To instill an Innovation Culture in the organization, the first step is to introduce an Open Culture. If an organization has a Flat structure, then that itself is a good first step. A flat structure enables Innovation in a great manner by giving employees more opportunities to make a difference. Extensive hierarchies in an organization size of 700 impacts the growth negatively. Not just the structures, the creation of project teams also influence the success of the projects. In fact, some organizations encourage project team members to choose their Managers, rather than the other way around. Communication between the employees and Managers should be direct and without any barriers. Like W.L.Gore who insisted on direct, one-on-one communication, anyone in the company should speak to anyone else.

Culture plays an important role in transforming the organization from their current thinking of “Doing what the job description states”. Setting expectations on employees like what WL Gore did (As a Gore “associate,” you’re supposed to morph your role over time to match your skills. You’re not expected to fit into some preconceived box or standardized organizational niche), will be one of the steps that Organization can take. Town-hall meetings are necessary to drive home the new message to employees.

Are the employees currently happy to do the tasks as defined by their Managers. If they are not, then there is a worry. Is it a matter of capability or attitude of the employees? A bit of both, one might say, without having too much insight to the character of employees. The employees should first move to a phase where along with their thinking, they will have to identify what they are good at.

How does one do it? There are various psychometric tests that can identify strengths and weaknesses of individuals clearly. It has been noticed that employees find it difficult to list out their strong areas – this is where the organization can help them in bringing in external consultants who can not only conduct these tests but also interpret the
results for better results.

Once they have identified the key areas, they can move to the phase of “Doing what you can do well”. Employees should be encouraged to think outside their standard job descriptions regularly – incentives should be put in place that will reward them accordingly.

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