"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower" Steve Jobs
According to Oslo manual, innovation is understood as "the design and implementation of significant changes in the product, process, marketing or organization of the company to improve results. Innovative changes are made through the application of new knowledge that can be developed internally, in external collaboration or acquired through advisory services or through the purchase of technology. "
Based on this definition, the first thing we can conclude is that it would be imprecise and incomplete to circumscribe innovation to the launching of new products and services. It is important to consider that innovation is closely linked to the value proposition of each specific organization and of its differential advantage. Therefore, innovation could be associated with the company´s business model, processes, value chain and strategy among others.
For the reasons mentioned above, it would not be appropriate to limit innovation to some specific areas of a company. From my point of view innovation must be in the company's DNA and in different hierarchical levels of the organization.
We may conclude that innovation is associated with the organizational culture of a company. The company´s attributes and manifestations facilitate, promote and encourage innovation.
A culture that supports innovation involves and requires behaviors such as creativity, risk taking, freedom, teamwork, orientation to solutions, trust, respect and speed in decision making. On other hand this kind of culture rejects practices and behaviors such as rigidity, Control, predictability and stability.
It should be considered in addition that the organization must have the intention of being innovative, an infrastructure that supports the innovation initiatives and an environment that supports its implementation.
This gives us enough elements to ensure that the culture of innovation is not necessarily born can be transformed and become a driver of the value proposition and a true differentiator of the organization.
The question then would be how to turn culture into a mobilizer of business innovation.
The first recommendation would be to measure the manifestations of culture that will mobilize innovation. We refer to behaviors such as leadership that promotes the participation of employees in the decision-making process, teamwork, recognition of outstanding work, recognizing mistakes as a part of the learning process, and the research of better ways of doing things. Likewise here is really important to create environments that invite the team to create and to bring new ideas. At this point is really important to have environments that privilege diversity and differences of opinion.
The second recommendation would be to define the gaps between the desired cultural attributes and those that are currently present in the organization.
Finally companies must develop and implement action plans to fill the gaps. This must be a permanent exercise that guarantees us a sustainable environment of ideation, reinvention and business innovation.
In conclusion, if you decide to innovate, do not limit yourself to an specific area, make innovation a capacity that is present in every corner of the company, in its DNA, in the organizational blood. The way to achieve this is through implanting a culture that encourages innovation.
Oscar Javier Jiménez Yepes
MBA Universidad Javeriana
Facebook: Inntegrity onestopsite
Find below the link of the Spanish version of this article