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.