Creating an environment to inspire innovation

By Seb Haire, guest writer at ProFinda.

Innovation has become, amongst some companies, a dirty word. It seems obvious that a company would want to Innovate – or does it? Innovation doesn’t always lead to success. There are plenty of examples of companies that tried something new and failed. In fact, 90 per cent of start-ups fail – now there are several reasons for this of course, but innovation can sometimes be the cause. Seb Haire, from ProFinda, explains.

Now if we look at the other side of the coin innovation has led to the marvellous world we live in today. From the amazing aspects of it – such as space travel to the norm (for the lucky ones) such as clean water and electricity, innovation has formed the society we live in.

So, it could be argued that innovation is useful, but only when applied correctly or in a relevant situation. Let’s not innovate for the sake of it, just because we can doesn’t mean we should… a current argument against the advancements of AI. My personal view is that we should create an environment that inspires not forces innovation. Let those that are inclined to innovate flourish, without hindering a business or culture. This is obviously easier said than done.

So how can we create such an environment? According to Forbes – SalesforceTeslaAmazon and Netflix all feature in the top 10 most innovative companies. All are different companies, with different products, services and people. But what they all have in common – is an agile internal framework that treats the company as a collective brain. Whilst there is structure and hierarchy, these companies have evolved and grown quickly. They started with an ‘all hands-on deck’ methodology and kept this culture as they have grown. Whilst they certainly do have a ‘day job’ as a focus, they allow their people to align their interests and passions with their skills. They have strong internal mobility programmes that offer transparency and reward for hard work.

From what I’ve seen – companies that inspire innovation are ones that have strong frameworks in place, a solid understanding of who they employ and a culture that allows people to feel safe to ask a question.

About the author

Sebastian Haire is part of ProFinda’s network of thought leaders  — an international technology company that helps organisations understand their people better. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

(Source: article reposted from Fresh Business Thinking with permissions)