Once you’ve committed to an innovation strategy, you need to make sure that the culture will support it. In addition to the many steps the leaders must take (which were mentioned in prior blogs), here are a few additional tips:
- Make sure that teams tasked with producing potentially disruptive innovations are truly cross-functional. The diversity of perspective is key to both spurring creativity and avoiding potential blindspots when it comes to execution.
- Keep innovation teams connected to the core business. While companies often separate the “skunk-works” early stage innovation efforts from the rest of the company, it’s important that once the innovation take shape, it graduates and is re-housed in the department that will operate it hereafter. This encourages excellence in execution because the core business has that skillset and key relationships.
- Assure that key leaders are actively engaged in the process. They are the bridge between the stage of innovation development and execution.
- Measure the impact of the new technology from the long-term, not short-term perspective. Not all technologies have immediate higher profit margins than the legacy business; your job is to figure out how it can be incorporated into the larger business and eventually become more valuable. At this time, most use of sustainable energies are not as cost-effective as legacy sources of energy. But governments take the long view in supporting them. Companies need to do the same thing – or else their competitors will figure it out and then disrupt them.
Do you have other innovation culture-related advice to share? Please do.