In times of technological change and disruption, companies also need a revolution in their own structures. A culture of innovation not only drives companies forward, but also creates a workplace that gives room for new ideas and thought-provoking impulses. In my work as a futurist, coach and consultant, I have come across many cultures, but it is not impossible to build a culture of innovation. All that is needed is a rethink in all areas of the company.
Cost reduction and operational efficiency play an important role in the classic corporate philosophy. It has always been particularly important to avoid all risks as far as possible and to implement simple, quick solutions with the given means. But in times of digital transformation it is no longer enough to rest in the past. It takes risk awareness in companies to have the courage to advance their own team through training and new structures. There are now even a number of companies that offer training in design thinking, lean startup and agile product development. I also get around with my Visions-Workshops and Future Mind seminars and see how much many companies and divisions are looking forward to something new. But the methods alone are not enough.
Openess – cornerstone of an innovation culture
An innovation culture requires openness within the company. Employees must have space to discover, explore and develop their own ideas. It doesn’t always have to be the finished prototype, just comparing options with the portfolio can enormously increase innovative thinking within a company and drastically reduce the potential risk. The better the definition of the new possibilities, the lower the later uncertainties of change will be.
For this change, it needs an innovation manager or change manager, who has the goals of the enterprise in view, but can also create enough creative freedom, so that enterprises can realize themselves. According to current studies, employees are looking for the possibility of active participation. So if they give them enough room for manoeuvre to play an active role in shaping their company and pay them tribute accordingly, great things can happen. It must not only be about budgets, efficiency and deadlines, because this is the end of almost every culture of innovation. Trust your employees, estimate the slumbering potentials correctly and use all possibilities you have.
So take with you: it is your job to broaden your employees’ view of the world and get them to actively work on innovative ideas. Of course, your normal work should not suffer from this, but with a future-oriented mindset and an appropriate freedom of design, you can place your company optimally in the digital transformation.