Innovation is a skill that many value but few know how to measure. In fact, innovation is the top business priority voiced by CEOs. Yet, 77% of CEOs find it challenging to get the innovation and creativity skills they need.
What’s the disconnect? Perhaps companies are not meeting the standards of their CEOs...or maybe employers aren’t even sure exactly what their standards are or how to find the proper benchmarks.
When figuring out how to measure innovation in a company, it’s tempting to focus solely on ROI and profitability. The problem with that mindset is that it often takes a long time for innovation to become highly profitable. If you rely on this metric alone, you might give up before truly developing innovation culture.
That being said, companies that are highly innovative tend to do better financially in the long run than those that don’t strive to be innovative. Just look at Amazon. It took some time for the online bookstore to develop innovation culture, but now no one would argue with the claim that constant innovation is what keeps Amazon on top.
To become a company that’s known for its innovation culture requires keeping several things in mind. Here’s what to consider when you’re assessing the innovation culture in your workplace.
A Foundation of Trust
What is your company’s vision for the future? Getting everyone on the same page regarding innovation is the first step to building the foundation of trust that’s necessary for your company to move forward. 93% of CEOs believe in the importance of having a strong corporate purpose that’s apparent in their organization’s values, behaviors, and culture.
Businesses have a unique opportunity to fill the trust gap that’s been created in recent years. People tend not to trust the government or the media, so who do they trust? According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, 61% of people trust business compared to 53% who trust the government and 51% who trust the media.
How does your company stack up? Is there a general feeling of trust between management and staff? If you suspect a scarcity of trust, you need to take action immediately. Your employees will not be eager to share innovative ideas if they don’t trust the upper management to follow through and execute them. Oh, and make sure your company is actually as diverse and inclusive as it claims to be so that everyone feels safe enough to share their ideas.
Which skills do you look for when hiring new employees? If you’re like most CEOs, you probably target problem-solving, leadership, adaptability, creativity, and innovation. Yet, most employers say it’s incredibly difficult to recruit people with this skillset.
The trick is asking the right questions that will uncover these skills. Many companies have shifted from conducting traditional interviews to taking a more customized approach. Consider presenting specific problems to solve during the interview or asking questions that assess strategic vision. It all starts with the hiring process.
Take a few minutes to evaluate the skills that each of your employees brings to the table. Are there any skills you especially value that are lacking? Alter your recruitment strategy to pursue those specific skills in the future. Remember, the soft skills that are closely linked to innovation are what you want to look out for.
The HR Dilemma
Where does your HR department fit into your innovation vision? That’s the question facing many CEOs today. 60% of them are currently rethinking the function of HR in their companies. They want HR to lead the way in identifying skills gaps, spotting potential, and building an innovative workforce.
Is it possible that CEOs have placed unattainable expectations on HR? As previously mentioned, CEOs feel that it’s challenging to find talented employees who meet their criteria. It seems many CEOs expect to recruit fully-formed employees who are already equipped to handle every possible future need of the organization, when the reality is that it often takes the right training and environment to grow those kinds of employees.
When you’re communicating your recruitment vision to the HR department, keep in mind that it may be more helpful to look for the capacity to become innovative rather than the already-present skill of innovation itself. Check in with HR regularly to determine whether their actions align with the innovation culture you hope to build.
The Road to Automation
How does your company plan to cultivate an environment where humans and machines work together in harmony? This is one of the most critical issues facing CEOs as automation continues to rise, bringing with it the potential for increased productivity, efficiency, and profitability for companies that take advantage of AI.
While many workers are concerned their jobs will be replaced by automation, research shows that there will likely not be a shortage of overall jobs in 2030. The main transition will be from jobs that don’t require high education levels to jobs that demand a college degree or higher. That means people will need to learn to work alongside machines to maintain their jobs.
52% of CEOs are currently exploring the benefits of having humans and machines work together.
What is your company doing to encourage innovation in this area? As you ponder this, it’s vital to have an understanding of how machines and humans complement each other. Humans assist machines by training them, explaining their purpose to others, and sustaining their functionality. Machines help humans by providing information, interacting with customers, and participating in manufacturing.
Looking for the best ways to encourage innovation in your company? Click here.
How willing are you to experiment with open innovation? Companies such as General Electric, Samsung, Coca-Cola, and LEGO have all used the open innovation model to come up with some of their most innovative ideas.
You might think that the main focus of innovation culture should be inside your company, but looking to external talent can actually increase the drive to innovate within your organization.
To build up your company’s innovation culture, consider working with HeroX to find the answers to your toughest problems. We’ll help you leverage the crowd to get the creative solution that might become the catalyst for the development of innovation culture in your company. Get started today.