MOK, our founder, presented the Must Bees of Innovation Culture, our white paper on building a culture of innovation and we were treated to a tour of the offices in which we learned about the value of environment for driving behaviours that encourage innovation.
Key insights from our round-table discussion centred on three themes.
Innovating in a risk averse industry
Some of the delegates operate within constrained and naturally risk averse environments. This is either because of high levels of accountability and compliance, or because their industry has experienced challenges that have driven a culture of avoiding risk. Suggestions for innovating within such environments included:
- A change in strategic emphasis and mindset from risk-aversion to risk-management. This shift could enable creativity around risk, as opposed to treating risk as a reason not to innovate
- Building a long-term outlook into our organisations’ strategic thinking, which could enable management teams to identify longer term risks that would be best mitigated through innovation
- Taking a risk on people decisions, hiring and promoting for dynamic people who are willing to take informed risks.
Utilising data effectively
We discussed the need to balance a reliance on data with the need to be creative. Data can only give us the best information on the past so more is needed to make innovative decisions. Suggestions here included:
- Recognising and communicating with the business that data alone is not informative. Data means nothing without interpretation, so it must be turned into insights which enlighten a challenge and reveal new opportunities. Insight generating is a creative process and the single most important part of an innovation process
- Crowd-sourcing solutions, by activating the mind of the organisation. An example was shared of the CEO of a travel company asking for solutions, to a potentially catastrophic problem for the business, from the entire organisation.
The scale of the need can stifle innovation
Many innovations require systemic change. They are suggested by employees but are not actionable at scale without 7-8 figure investment. We find ourselves saying: “This is a great idea but… the resource requirements are too great/the investment needed is too high/the organisation is not geared up for this”. A few potential solutions to this include:
- Reframing the response to “This is a great idea and… (challenge) so what could we do about it?”
- We at The Innovation Beehive would advocate experimenting using a build, test, learn approach in which data and insight can be used to prove the concept to gain investment
- We would also suggest building ‘signalling’ behaviours into the organisation. This is about communicating to employees when new ideas are being sought, the scope of those ideas and what the next steps would be. This would help to ensure employees who suggest ideas understand the process and do not become disillusioned if idea development seems slow or doesn’t happen as they hope.
To learn more about The Must Bees of Innovation Culture, download our White Paper.