The Best Weapons in the Battle for World-Class Talent and Ideas

Creativity and innovation are topics that seem to be almost inescapable. A Google search on the topics returns 131 million results, and Amazon lists nearly 16,000 books on the combined topic. But why are they so omnipresent? Because the battle for world-class talent and break through ideas in today’s low-growth, highly-disruptive world is fiercer than ever. To combat this, companies must have a culture and organizational architecture that promotes creativity and innovation as they seek to gain and maintain competitive advantage.

So where to begin?

First, know and evaluate the four primary areas that inhibit or promote great creativity and innovation:

1. A company’s enabling and support of operational process.

2. Culture and leadership

3. The physical and digital environment

4. Assumptions and beliefs of employees and the organization

An honest assessment of how you’re performing in these areas, and how they work in concert, is vital to creating the conditions necessary for innovative success. As part of this assessment, there is one fundamental question that each leader, team and organization needs to ask themselves in today’s environment – are you able to change as fast as the world around you? If your answer isn’t a definitive “yes,” then you have an opportunity to unlock and unleash tremendous value by dismantling these barriers that keep innovation from flourishing.

We at Ketchum Change know that “Liquid companies that are able to foster innovation and adapt quickly to both opportunities and challenges possess four key traits:

1. Agile: Being driven by passion and desire to seize opportunities in real-time is part of their core values and DNA. It’s how they attract, hire and develop talent and orient their organization to seize advantages, instead of being afraid of risk, change and challenges.

2. Dialed-In: They use progressive approaches to create strong connections with internal and external stakeholders, embrace proactive listening, and foster co-creation.

3. Transparent: They communicate with clarity, timeliness and authenticity across borders and organizational levels.

4. Pioneering: They promote and create systems and incentives to provoke curiosity and support risk-taking to innovate.

To become “Liquid,” here are a few ideas to set conditions for success in your organization:

1. Stay connected with employees

2. Create a direct line of communication between leaders and employees

3. Be transparent by breaking down (or even destroying!) organizational barriers

4. Give employees context… and the ability to spark ideas

5. Lead by example by driving creativity and innovation in your own space

And don’t forget to leave a comment below if you have any questions or thoughts about how to bolster creativity and innovation in your organization.

Liquid Change in Latin America: BRICS, Mortars and Frontiers

We recently had the pleasure of meeting with friends and colleagues at our offices in Argentina and Brazil. While on my trip, by way of some great opportunities arranged by our gracious hosts, we had the opportunity to take a closer look at the communications and change management landscape of the region.

The world has turned its eyes towards Latin America, and for good reason. With rich histories, abundant resources and dynamic economies, it’s now a pivotal time for businesses to maximize their growth in the region if they hope to adapt to the pace and nuances of each market.

Here are a few of my observations on communication opportunities that exist in this space, particularly in areas that are experiencing more rapid change than their European and US counterparts.

1. Reaching the Next Stage of Maturity
Argentina’s Frontier economy and Brazil’s BRIC economy are both experiencing shifts that are modernizing the landscape of the markets. As industries continue to grow, change management and highly effective internal communications are particularly important to businesses focusing on how they operate, allocate resources and achieve new stages of growth.

2. Setting a High Bar
With a large number of multinational businesses in both Brazil and Argentina, it’s clear that there are tremendous advantages for global organizations to continue building a presence by investing in advanced workforce and talent infrastructures that support and attract the best people. As the products, brands and reputations of these businesses rapidly evolve from local to global, organizations must maintain local expertise and agile communications while bolstering their talent capabilities.

3. Scaling Excellence
Brazil is home to 75 unique cultures and a geographic footprint larger than India. With such a large and diverse landscape, companies have a unique opportunity to tap into enormous employee enthusiasm and regional pride, creating dynamic cultures that drive productivity, growth and consumer confidence. The first step should be to actively shape a high-performance culture by harnessing the potential of sophisticated internal communications and compelling employee value propositions (EVP). Look to develop a system that instinctively reacts to market changes, rewards innovative thinking and is dialed-in to the local environment.

4. Break Through with Creativity and Innovation
As businesses navigate fluctuating economies, regulatory environments and political parties, it’s more important than ever to harness employees’ creativity and innovation. Creating a work environment that rewards new ideas and breaks down traditional hierarchies and siloes, so brilliant ideas from anywhere can be turned into innovative actions and products, will help businesses develop a clear advantage.

As companies both big and small look to cultivate future-proof organizations in this exciting region, they will need to deftly handle the unique challenges within each market. It’s clear that for local organizations, having a strong internal communications foundation built into their rapid expansion plans will help them compete within the global landscape, while global brands can benefit from a change system that helps them become more nimble and tap into the nuances and unique challenges in each market. For both, having ‘Liquid Change’ organizations will be crucial as the world’s attention is increasingly drawn toward Latin America.