Innovation continues to be a hot topic. The Boston Consulting Group’s 10th annual global survey of the state of innovation shows that 79 percent of respondents ranked it as the company’s top-most priority or a top-three priority—the highest percent since the survey began in 2005. Whether in business, non-profit, sports, or entertainment, most organizations are continuously asking the question, “How can we become more innovative?” Leaders have quickly recognized that their organization’s competitive position largely depends on its capacity for innovation.
“We don’t have time for the soft stuff” was recently heard in a senior leadership meeting. “Let’s get back to the real work—our budget and strategy for next year.” This team had just been through a training workshop that focused on leadership styles, their impact on the workforce, and the need to shift their behaviors toward more openness and collaboration. Comments on the “soft stuff” have been around for some time. It’s amazing in this time of work complexity, ambiguity, vulnerability, and interdependence, that some leadership still undervalue the importance of the human side of enterprise.
When you build a culture of innovation, who benefits? From my work with organisations I’d be fairly willing to bet that your top answers would include customers, employees and the organisation itself.
And it’s fairly obvious why. Customers of innovative organisations receive the benefit of agile solutions which are created in answer to real needs and delivered by exceptional levels of service. Employees working within innovative organisations benefit from working in a collaborative environment which praises and nurtures traits such as empowerment initiative and inclusivity. And innovative organisations benefit from offering differentiated market leading solutions; thereby attracting a loyal customer base, a strong reputation, and increased levels of profitability.