The word “innovation” may conjure up an image of inventors working on their next big project. But innovation is much broader and deeper than that image. As stated by an unknown author, “Innovation is the process of creating value by applying novel solutions to meaningful problems.” Former CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs said, “Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity–not a threat.” It can confidently be said that business leaders are wise to create a culture of innovation in their organizations. 

What is a Culture of Innovation 

A culture of innovation can be described as the environment and work processes that encourage employees to feel confident in coming up with new ideas that benefit the enterprise, developing ways to create or improve products and services, devising new solutions to problems, finding means to improve customer satisfaction, and seeking ways to increase employee engagement and satisfaction. 

What are the benefits of a Culture of Innovation?  

A culture of innovation can benefit an organization in many ways. First, and perhaps foremost, as Julie Sweet, business executive and attorney, stated, “Innovation is the new competitive advantage.” Business enterprises need continuous innovation to stay competitive today. Second, it helps create an environment that can change and adapt to new market trends, customer demands, and new technologies. Third, it enables an organization to more effectively and efficiently solve problems using creative solutions. Enabled employees will be better able to think critically, challenge normal assumptions, and find new approaches. Fourth, it encourages and improves employee engagement and retention by giving them more freedom to contribute their ideas. Fifth, it leads to continuous improvement in business thinking and processes, thus improving business results. Sixth, it enhances collaboration and teamwork. And seventh, it leads to improved customer experiences. 

11 Ways to Foster a Culture of Innovation 

Here are 11 ways to foster a culture of innovation: 

  1. Define and communicate a clear innovation vision and strategy aligned with the organization’s objectives and goals. 
  2. Lead by involvement and example. Leaders should actively participate in innovation initiatives. 
  3. Create a culture that supports innovation by encouraging creativity, experimentation, risk-taking, and ideation. This will empower employees to be creative and show that innovative behaviors are safe and desired.  
  4. Allocate resources to support innovation. This can include funding, personnel, and technology. 
  5. Find ways to foster internal and external collaboration. Encourage diverse perspectives. 
  6. Promote a learning mindset within the organization. Create ways for employees to enhance their skills through such things as training programs, mentoring, and workshops. 
  7. Reward and recognize innovative ideas and contributions for individuals and teams. 
  8. Create a supportive physical environment in the workspace including digital tools that effectively foster collaboration, knowledge sharing, and creativity. 
  9. Regularly communicate innovation initiatives through program progress, outcomes, and lessons learned. 
  10. Measure and evaluate the effectiveness of all organizational innovation initiatives, including gathering employee feedback. 
  11. Be sure to deal with barriers to innovation including resistance to change, fear of failure, siloed thinking, and lack of resources. 

Seek Professional Accounting Assistance 

Contact Nolan Accounting Center, based in Greenfield, WI. We build strong relationships and support strategies for success. We provide accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services to small business owners in Southeast Wisconsin including Milwaukee, Greenfield, New Berlin, Muskego, West Allis & Waukesha.