Thinking Outside of the Box: Culture &  Innovation

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Fostering a positive company culture is paramount for long-term success. Not only can a highly motivated professional environment lead to greater levels of cohesion, but studies have shown that engaged employees are up to 202 percent more productive compared to their unengaged counterparts. 


Company culture and innovation enjoy a hand-in-hand relationship. Therefore, makes sense to have a closer look at some expert tips and strategies to keep in mind. 


Defining Innovation


Before discussing how to foster an innovative workplace, we need to define it. Innovation includes the ability to develop new products, strategies, and ideas. It also embraces an "if-then" mindset. In other words, if a team takes a different approach, then specific results can be expected. Simply stated, innovation is essentially the consequence of keeping an open and proactive mind. 


The Role of Ego


Regardless of the industry, employees are always passionate about achieving personal goals and milestones. This is why one of the best ways to promote a positive company culture is to encourage a sense of individualism. This is particularly relevant for those with a significant amount of experience. If they believe their voices will not be heard, they will simply look elsewhere when determining where to display their talents. 


Generate a Sense of Trust in Management


How is trust related to innovation within the workplace? Many innovative approaches are associated with an inherent amount of risk. People will be hesitant to adopt more daring strategies if they believe they will not be supported if something goes awry. This is not the way to remain ahead of the competition.


Managers and team leaders should actively encourage their teams to think outside of the box, even if it entails a moderate amount of risk. Employees who innately trust their managers are also more likely to highlight any concerns they may have. This type of mutual trust represents another facet of an innovative environment. 


Top-Down Responsiveness


Some of the most innovative workplaces are associated with a sense of "belonging. People in these workplaces represent a single portion of a greater whole and a part of a team. As this article emphasizes, there are several advantages to creating a sense of belonging:

  • Increased loyalty
  • Reduced absenteeism 
  • Increased productivity

The benefits of innovation are just as clear. Employees who feel they belong within a company with a management team that responds to their ideas will be much more likely to come forward with new suggestions. This type of responsiveness includes one-on-one meetings, team collaborations, or even activities outside of the traditional office environment. 


All About Teamwork


Although this concept was touched upon earlier, it deserves greater attention due to its undeniable role. Teamwork is crucial for collaborative success. However, its role in innovation may be overlooked on occasion. 


A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and this is when a sense of proactive collaboration needs to come into play. Companies that hope to outpace the competition cannot afford long developmental times or a lack of cross-departmental accountability. Cooperation is crucial, as most innovative products and services result from a team effort. 


For example, a recent survey found that 87 percent of professionals believe teamwork and collaboration were vital when developing innovative success. 


Encouraging the Correct Skill Sets


According to research carried out by the Conference Board of Canada, the following traits are the most desirable:

  • Creativity and continuous quality improvement
  • Transparent risk assessment 
  • A willingness to build new relationships
  • Appreciating how to implement new ideas

Of course, some individuals will innately possess these talents, while others may require a bit of encouragement and guidance. It is prudent to offer in-house courses specifically intended to foster a mindset centered around innovation. These sessions can likewise help management identify those who may require more assistance. 


Real-Time Assessments


As mentioned earlier, the risk is an inherent factor in workplace innovation. Things can and will go wrong on occasion. Therefore, it is just as crucial for a company culture to support an inward-looking perspective. In other words, the results of a project should be analyzed regularly. This will help identify any minor issues, and perhaps more importantly, it is much easier to gauge progress within real-time settings. Employees should be encouraged to contribute to these types of brainstorming sessions. 


Workplace Innovation: A Culture-Based in Creativity


Company culture will exert a massive influence on creativity and innovation. Modifying how employees interact with such an environment will still take time and a significant amount of effort. This type of paradigm shift is well worth the initial commitment from a long-term perspective. As businesses face a highly competitive landscape, staying one step ahead of the curve has never been more relevant.


When your culture is not operating at its best the result is lower sales, poor customer service, & overall inefficiencies.

The solution: create a happier, sustainable workplace culture that empowers & engages your team.


About the Author

Zoe Dromgoole

Zoe Dromgoole is the Marketing Executive at Wood Flooring Ireland and runs social media marketing. Wood Flooring Ireland sells bespoke engineered wood flooring throughout the entire country.


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