Too often, innovation happens in pockets. Instead of the entire organization embracing innovation as a strategy and structure, it's filed away into a dark corner and stifled. For innovation to be more than a buzzword, it takes organizational innovation: every person embracing transformation at every level. That's not an easy concept for many companies to wrap their arms around. But, it's a necessity. Innovation can help save businesses. Success requires change, adaptation, and ideation. Without it, business models stagnate. Soon after, those suddenly-obsolete businesses are talked about in the same breath as Blockbuster Video.
Pursuing organizational innovation now is the key to enjoying success far into the future. Here are 4 ways that embracing organizational innovation can save your company:
1. Inspire Creativity
'Keep your head down.' That idiom even sounds oppressive. Because going to work has been approached that way for so long, it takes a shake-up to get employees to snap out of it and express themselves. Putting innovation at the center of your company is a great way to do that. Innovation asks that creativity be exercised all of the time. It demands creative thinking and rewards those who practice it. Inspiring creativity company-wide is an important step toward discovering the idea or ideas that will set your business up for success in the future. Your industry will continue to change. That's why your company needs to change along with it. Promote creativity. Uncover ideas. Take those ideas and reshape your company so that it fits a shifting industry and society at large.
2. Redefine Failure
Failure isn't a poison unless you choose to define it that way. How your organization chooses to view and define failure will permeate at every level of your company. If failure is defined as an end result, a condemnation of an idea, or a reflection of a person's ability, then it is an undeniable morale-killer. Failure will be feared. Failure will be avoided. The safest route - far away from the possibility of failure - will be taken over and over. That attitude stands in direct opposition to innovation. Failure should be defined as an expected part of the process of success. Transformation requires taking chances, trying risky ideas, and doing new things - without the specter of failure looking over your shoulder. If a project fails, consider it as a concrete step toward future success. You've vetted an idea and learned from it. That's how worthwhile innovations are discovered.
3. Embrace Change
Change is scary. For many companies, fear of change hangs in the air. In fact, you've probably heard some variation of the phrase 'because we've always done it this way' uttered around the office, as justification for continuing to do something inefficient or flat-out incorrectly. That aversion to change sets a company up for closing its doors sooner than later. Change does take hard work and does require personal and organizational flexibility. Embracing innovation across the organization can start to quell that fear of change. Innovation invites and celebrates change. Instead of a threat, change is treated as a necessary and positive path toward a healthy future for the company. With the entire company seeing change the same way, it can actually happen.
4. Improve Culture
When your entire organization embraces innovation, your culture improves. Instead of employees feeling like cogs in the machine, they become active team members in a culture that promotes learning and collaboration. Organizational innovation energizes employees, giving them a stronger voice in the company and a greater stake in the outcome. Innovation pulls people together and transforms company culture. Even the general aspects of culture tend to loosen up: relaxed dress code, flexible hours, perks. Embracing innovation means embracing the future and that often includes how your company views itself and its operations altogether. That's a good thing. When change stops being feared and starts being celebrated, everything progresses.
Innovation makes your company stronger. It prepares your company for the future. It just might save it.