The innovation equation

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July 23rd, 2015

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The fact that innovation remains key to organisational success in Singapore has never been clearer with our research highlighting that four of the top five organisational challenges requires them to innovate.

org challenges

Innovation is not about a linear process, it’s an unpredictable journey that takes the gem of an idea through to something that adds value.   Many regard innovation as the work of one individual – a creative maverick if you like – but the reality is that innovation is a social and group process that needs to be nurtured. In a recent webinar for Roffey Park based on her Six ‘I’s of Innovation model, Natalie Turner highlights that

“For innovation to be really successful, a range of skills, behaviours and capabilities are required; identifying opportunities, igniting ideas and solutions, investigating them to see if they will work, investing in the best ones, implementing the idea into the world and improving it to see if more value can be created.”

Organisational culture is key, but to foster a culture of innovation leaders need to encourage the sharing of knowledge and ideas, as well as support risk-taking and accept that failures may happen.

Our Singapore Management Agenda suggests there is definitely room for improvement in innovation leadership. Almost 75% of employees believe that innovation is encouraged in their organisation, but only 16% of employees indicate that their team members openly admit weaknesses and mistakes. But the biggest barrier to innovation is the mind set of employees.

So how can leaders engage the hearts and minds of their employees to innovate?

  1. Set a Compelling Vision  Setting a compelling vision, which focuses on the long term, stimulates creativity by motivating employees to engage in developing solutions and new ways of doing things, without the need for any extrinsic reward.
  2. Empower your team  Relinquish control and provide autonomy for your teams, letting them have the freedom and opportunity to think for themselves and innovate – they’ll also be more motivated and more likely to stay with your organisation
  3. Encourage difference and collaboration  Leaders need to create a work environment where there is a free flow of information, different views and outlook are encouraged, and there is a supportive challenge of ideas.
  4. Demonstrate support for innovation  Leaders must send clear and unambiguous signals that innovation is welcomed where constructive support and recognition will be given – creating the right culture to encourage your team to share their ideas.
  5. Take risks and manage ambiguity  Innovation rarely happens the first time you try – making mistakes is part of the journey. Leaders need to be comfortable that they can show support for risk-taking and failure.
  6. Enhance your influencing skills  Innovation rarely happens the first time you try – making mistakes is part of the journey. Leaders need to be comfortable that they can show support for risk-taking and failure.

 

How do you encourage innovation in your organisation?

 

View and share our infographic – Leading Innovation in Asia Pacific