5 Steps to Implementing an Innovation Mindset in Your Business
You’ve heard it before: innovation is the key to success. However, what does innovation mean in the business environment? How do companies develop a mindset, that is, an innovative mindset that generates significant results?
Starting from the answer to these questions, we decided to bring new content within this widespread theme.
If you keep reading, you’ll remember the concept of innovation strategy, see why it’s important to invest in it, and also have tips on how to achieve the much-desired innovative mindset in your business.
The main challenges of enterprise innovation
Despite massive investments of time and money, innovation remains a frustrating task in many companies. Innovation initiatives often fail, and successful innovators find it difficult to sustain their performance – hello, Polaroid. Hello, Nokia. Hello, Yahoo!
Why is it so difficult to build and maintain the capacity to innovate? The reasons are much deeper than the commonly cited cause: a failure to execute. The problem with efforts to improve innovation is rooted in the lack of a truly effective strategy.
Plunged into the increasingly frantic routine, organizations of all sizes and in all segments see their efforts sinking. They cannot solidify their commitment to a mutually reinforcing set of policies or behaviors to achieve goals – it is the core of what we call strategy, remember?
Companies also find it difficult to open up to the world. Conservative in almost everything, they cannot establish useful partnerships with startups (masters in innovation), companies see the contracting of specialized consultancies as an unnecessary expense and so on.
And the results? Misalignment with the needs and desires of the modern consumer, loss of market and business value, growth of competition, dismay in teams … the list of whines only increases. It does not have to be this way!
After all, what is an innovation strategy?
Good strategies promote alignment among diverse groups within an organization, clarify goals and priorities, and help focus efforts around them.
Companies regularly define their overall business strategy (their scope and position) and specify how various functions-marketing, operations, finance, and R & D-will support it. But they rarely articulate action plans to align their innovation efforts with macro business goals.
It is important to remember that an innovation strategy is a plan used to encourage breakthroughs (in technology, services, products, processes, etc.), usually by investing money and human resources in research and development activities.
An innovation strategy is essential for companies that want to gain a competitive advantage. It should be inspiring and add something unique to the product, service, process or business model that is being developed or that already exists. Its main objective is to add value, which also helps generate differentiation in the market and loyalty to customers, partners, suppliers and finally the aimed public.
Innovation should push boundaries and be out of the ordinary. This does not always mean inventing the wheel, although the concept is thus seen in common sense. Increasing what already exists or trimming the edges can often be far more profitable than starting from scratch.
When you think of innovation, it’s impossible not to remember Apple. The company founded by Steve Jobs has created and continues to create exclusive products with great success. The iPhone, iPad and iWatch were all groundbreaking products. They did not come out of nowhere. Jobs realized that the cell phones (which already existed and were doing very well, thanks – hello, Blackberry!) Could better exploit the internet; the same happened with the other gadgets of the company that revolutionized the market.
Although smaller companies may not have the global success of Apple, the beauty of a good innovation strategy is that we can come up with huge surprises along the way and achieve a never-before-seen success.
What is the innovation mindset?
Often, an innovation strategy does not go forward because the mindset of the people involved (from the high organizational hierarchy to the professionals in charge of performing the most mundane tasks) is not prepared for it.
In recent years, the term “innovation mindset” has gained strength among scholars and has become popular on the internet. It emerges as a semantic symbol of this effort to get organizations moving toward the innumerable possibilities for innovation.
There is no strategy without people, even though technology has co-starred all the great advances that we know today. That’s why the innovation mindset is so important. People with an innovative mindset have forward thinking, are creative and open to testing, making mistakes and trying again; collaborative and progress-loving, they do not love the past – they know the new is always coming!
The innovation mindset, believe me, is a big differential of giants like Apple, but also of the startups created in the garages, in the coworking spaces in our lives. United through innovative thinking, professionals involved in the day-to-day running of an organization can overcome barriers, idealize and generate truly disruptive processes, products and services.
5 Steps to Implementing a Mindset of Innovation in Your Business
To overcome the challenges, therefore, it is fundamental to implement a mindset of innovation, that is, to insert in the organizational culture the innovative thinking.
Here are five steps to start building that mindset in your business today.
Step 1: Develop or Improve Your Innovation Strategy
As we have seen, the adoption of an innovative mindset has to do with the implementation of small incremental changes that pave the way for continuous improvement and growth. But you cannot do this without strategic planning.
The best thing, therefore, is to put on paper the objectives to be achieved in terms of innovation, methods and tools to be used, action plans (with their specified responsible parties), metrics and performance indicators to be measured. In short, a strategic planning – only 100% focused on innovation. It is worth remembering that running it from agile practices promotes a huge gain in efficiency.
This initiative, as well as being a guiding thread of efforts, also serves as a milestone for people to begin to see value in innovation. Gradually, from the direction to the professionals of the operation, passing through the leaderships, the innovative thinking goes from being something merely abstract and starts to gain tones of concreteness.
Step 2: Set up an innovation committee
By developing or revisiting your business innovation strategy, you have already given your employees a clear message. Now it is important to go further.
The next step we suggest is the organization of an innovation committee. Bring together a select group of professionals and give them the mission of fostering innovative culture.
It is advisable to set up a multidisciplinary and multi-hierarchical committee. In other words: bring together people with different skills, experience, roles and positions / responsibilities. Diversity and heterogeneity are mandatory words!
In each company, the role of the innovation committee varies. In general terms, its activities consist of creating the innovation portfolio, selecting ideas, intermediating debates, measuring and communicating results of the discussions and actions around the innovation strategy.
The main objective of this team is to suggest and build new solutions to problems, delivering value to all involved and generating real results for the company. Thus, the greater the plurality of ideas, the more innovative the corporate environment becomes.
→ Read also: 5 steps to set up an innovation committee in your company!
Step 3: Encourage internal and external collaboration
Another crucial point for the implementation of the innovative mentality is collaboration. It is very important to create a climate of mutual help and exchange of ideas.
As in other business strategies, promoting the integration of departments and more varied teams helps a lot. Investing in internal communication, promoting integration events, creating joint goals with seemingly “competing” teams can help.
Likewise, encouraging collaboration with suppliers, customers, and business partners also raises the innovation mindset. These external audiences can help people, so engrossed in their affairs, to visualize bottlenecks, modify processes, have disruptive ideas, among other things.
When the collaborative culture innovates, you will realize that it will be much easier to implement an open innovation strategy. Do not know what that is? Then go back and read this article: Open Innovation: What It Is, What Types and Benefits!
Step 4: Invest in Technology and Qualified Personnel
Everything that has been said so far can have a huge upgrade with true investments in technology.
With good software and IT services, it is possible to better outline the innovation strategy, provide informational and toolkits for innovation committee staff, improve communication and collaboration (internal and external), and more.
Likewise, hiring qualified professionals and thinking driven by innovation (or desire to) facilitates the generation of the corporate mindset of innovation. Putting this premise to the HR staff is well indicated.
Often, investing in the qualification of the team already hired is quite useful. People want to learn more, develop new skills, and remain professionally competitive. What about making the qualification (quick courses, lectures, postgraduate courses, etc.) a visible benefit to employees and advantageous to the company?
Step 5: Cherish innovative ideas
Finally, if you are in a leadership position and/or direction of the business – if it is not the case yet, send the link of this article to your boss, he will like it – know that all efforts to generate the innovative mindset is with the proper appreciation of disruptive ideas.
If innovation really is a value in your business, value the most innovative people and teams, support initiatives, investment (time, money, tools, etc.) and above all, the enthusiasm of leaders.
So, did you like the reflection we brought in this article? Already looking forward to putting these five steps into practice and seeing the innovation mindset born in your business? Download our Innovation Trends for 2019 now!