Although sometimes ambiguous in definition, once a business has caught the innovative spirit, its effect is unmistakable. In today’s ever evolving business landscape, innovation is a must have: a process that sets you apart and creates significant new value that didn’t exist before.
Many have tried to define innovation in an attempt to understand how best to produce it. Steven Johnson, author of Where good ideas come from said, ‘innovation doesn't come just from giving people incentives; it comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect.’ The Exact Innovation Pulse Check aimed to explore exactly that. Our nationwide survey of The Supper Club – a membership organisation of founders and CEOs of high-growth businesses – asked a range of questions to get a better understanding of what, in their experience, creates an atmosphere where innovation thrives.
Based on our feedback from the Pulse Check, here are 4 things to remember while cultivating innovation in your business:
- Successful innovation starts at the top
Also, 82% of those surveyed hold SME owners responsible when it comes to ensuring SMEs are innovative. I firmly believe a leader cannot expect their followers to do something they are not doing themselves. From meetings with clients to interactions with employees, are you endeavouring to be innovative in all areas of your business?
- A restrictive hierarchy stifles innovation
- Don’t shun old school practices
Furthermore if you expect great ideas from your employees you must also be prepared to invest in them. Not just superficially - installing quirky chill-out zones and the like, but through continuous training and development. 53% of CEOs saw traditional training sessions as key to inspiring innovation - employees that are empowered are able to run further and faster with their ideas.
- Don’t be afraid of new technology
Fostering an innovative culture is perhaps one of the only ways to remain a strong contender in the competitive world of business. Luckily creating a conducive environment isn’t difficult, however it is your responsibility to help your employees not just catch the spark but continue to carry the flame, and company, into the future.
By Erik van der Meijden, CEO, Exact