Building a culture that is receptive to ongoing innovation and change is the new (or noisier) senior leader directive.  Although there is clear research describing success factors – more than 60 peer-reviewed years’ worth – there has been no clear roadmap for designing a foolproof strategy that is custom fit to each unique organization.  As a result of this gap many innovation culture efforts fail or do not deliver on expectations.  Our Demystifying Innovation Culture Efforts ebook seeks to change this.  

Demystifying Innovation Culture Efforts is a comprehensive ebook that distills our research and experience down to 12 Strategic Action Areas that leaders need to build a sustainable culture of innovation. In this series of articles we will take each of the 12 Strategies in turn

Skill Development is an area with which New & Improved has a long history and a passion and capacity for enabling.  We suggest that skill development, in the support of innovation, must have at its root three main things:

  1. The intention to improve the creative thinking of the individual
  2. The creative collaboration of that individual with others and,
  3. The effective utilization of the organization’s resources to move new value forward.

It is because of this passion that we first ask ourselves the question, What might be all the ways we can foster innovation culture such that individuals and teams feel enabled and supported to use creative thinking skills?  Answering this question is what ultimately led to the Demystifying Innovation Culture Efforts ebook which introduces the 12 Strategies for Innovation Excellence.

WCautionatch out!  Beware of training departments and outside vendors who portray innovation skill development as a simple thing where one needs only a few brainstorming skills, pattern-breaking tools, or a general awareness of innovation to be successful.  The basics are necessary, but your human capital will be absolutely outclassed by a competitor playing a bigger game in this area if you stop there.  And as much as we would all like to have an easy fix, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all training program.

Success Tip:  Creativity and innovation skill training has the potential for immediate return on investment.  If the training programs are delivered by trainers who also have top notch facilitation skills every level of training in this area should include “real work” with the purpose of bringing new value to the organization – whether in savings, process improvement or new offerings.

Skill Development is only 1 of the 12 Strategies for Innovation Excellence.  It’s a nice place to begin to scan for effort.  Over the last decade, as the word “innovation” began to appear in corporate value systems, executive communications, and brand taglines, there has developed a degree of cynicism about the reality of organizational intent in this area.  Many individual contributors, who want to leverage their creative thinking in collaboration with colleagues to produce innovative results for the whole organization, have been stymied by a lack of true attention from senior leadership and mid-level management.

This doesn’t have to remain the reality.  Leverage the 12 Strategies to design your roadmap!

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