How to create a culture of innovation that challenges the status quo

culture of innovation

Creating a culture of innovation is a great move for any enterprise. Without the innovation process, we wouldn’t have the pyramids, the Panama Canal, velcro, sliced bread, or aglets (the plastic bits at the end of shoelaces - someone actually invented that, his name was Harvey Kennedy and he made this bold move in 1790!).

Suffice it to say, when you create a culture of innovation, you’re setting yourself up for success (and less frustrating shoe-lacing experiences) in the long run.

If you’re wondering how you can work innovation into your business model on a day to day basis, we’ve got some great news - it doesn’t necessarily call for huge, earth-shattering moves. You can create a culture of innovation that challenges the status quo starting today. It’s all about addressing your company culture.

In this blog post, we're going to look at  5 ways to create a culture of innovation that challenges the status quo:


1. Leave the floor WIDE open

A true culture of innovation is one that allows for ideas to come from anywhere. Innovation is not just something that happens in blue-sky sessions in the boardroom. Inspire your employees to approach innovation from different angles, e.g. the Forbes model that breaks it down to profit, processes, products and policies. If you want your team to think out of the box, start by opening the lid and letting them breathe.  

2. Make it easy to experiment

If you want people to think for themselves, they should feel empowered to do so. This is where the beauty of autonomy becomes all the more apparent. When employees are allowed a healthy measure of freedom in the way they choose to meet their employment goals, innovation follows naturally. Without the sword of micromanagement hanging over their heads, self-reliant team members are free to seek out new and improved ways to tick their to-do list and go beyond their initial call of duty.

3. De-terrify failing

A fear of failure is a terrible thing. It’s directly linked to feelings of shame, as this study shows. When your employees are terrified of failing, innovation is seen as pretty dicey. After all, when you stick to the old way of doing things, you are far less likely to make any waves that might get you in trouble or put your position in jeopardy. Let your team know that failure is not the end of the world, and that each situation will be judged and rectified on merit. When everyone knows that they won’t be hung out to dry for every single whoops that occurs along the way, they are far more likely to try something new.

4. Measure and reward appropriately

A healthy and nimble culture of innovation calls for structured recognition and reward. When bold moves and new ideas are celebrated out in the open where everyone can see, it will become part of the day-to-day fabric of your business ambience.

Read more: 15 Ways you can build a culture of recognition

5. Don't forget to implement!

New ideas are like exciting new kitchen implements - it’s great that you have them, but if you don’t actually use them you’re still just going to end up with a Woolies ready meal for dinner. When employees come up with great new ideas, use it! You don’t have to change up procedures all at once, but make a start at least. Gather data, find out more, get a task team up and running - take action in some shape or form.

Sounds like a great place to work, right?

After all, who wouldn’t want to ply their craft in an environment where there is lots of scope for innovation, experimentation is made simple, you don’t have to be terrified to fail, efforts are rewarded and your crazy cool ideas actually get implemented? It’s like kindergarten bak-en-brou all over again - you can play and create and there are tasty things to enjoy at the end!

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