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How to build an innovative culture

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by Charlotte Gurney

Innovation drives businesses’ forward and creates new opportunities to find fresh solutions to old issues. It’s the energetic force behind positive change and can help keep a workforce stimulated and excited about daily tasks and direction. An innovative culture is what you’ll find at some of the most successful organizations in the world - but how do you build one within your own business?

Hire the right people

An innovative culture is filled with people who not only have the skills and talent to make creativity and change happen but are passionate about doing it too. In order to ensure that you’re achieving this, take a look at the way you attract people to your business. Do your job ads seem pedestrian or are they worded in a way that is exciting and filled with potential? Does the recruitment process you use eliminate people who are creative or different early on because your business doesn’t want to take risks? Are your interview questions open-ended and designed to delve into minds and ideas, or closed and unimaginative?

Give people a sense of purpose at work

It’s vital to involve your workforce in the direction of the company and to ensure that everyone feels like their contribution matters. Engage employees regularly - do they have positive suggestions and constructive feedback, what are they interested in and passionate about and how do their own values align with those of the business?

Make space for creativity to happen

Stress, overwork and feeling overburdened are the antidotes to innovation and creativity. If you want to create a more innovative culture in your business then you need to ensure that there is time and space for creativity to happen. This means giving people time to daydream and brainstorm, allowing for thinking time and minds that wander, and giving employees the flexibility to break out of regular routines to find those moments of brilliance. Sometimes, this can be all about the space that we are in - for example, you could create tech-free areas where there are no distractions so that thoughts and ideas can flow.

Diversity and inclusion fuel innovation

A diverse workforce means that you have many different ideas, perspectives and viewpoints being contributed into one big melting pot - this is the ideal situation from which innovation can be born. It’s vital to create an environment in which everyone feels able to speak up and share, no matter what their background, role or department. Sometimes the best ideas come from the most unlikely places.

Make failure a part of your business culture

Failure is really just a step on the path to success - and the only real failure is giving up. When you embed failure as a learning curve in your organization you give people the opportunity to be more experimental and have a go. If people are afraid of the consequences of failure, then they may not even try and that could mean you’re missing out on someone’s best ideas.

Building an innovative culture in your organization starts with the people you attract and is defined by how you treat them.