Fostering a culture of innovation has become increasingly crucial for organisations. 87% of consumers begin their shopping journey online. 84% of executives acknowledge the significance of innovation in their growth strategy (McKinsey). It is a common misconception that innovation is limited to fintech and venture-capitalist-backed startups. However, a closer examination of the top 50 innovative companies in 2019, reveals the presence of well-known household names. These include Disney, Target, and the NBA, alongside newer companies like Alibaba (wholesale), Mozilla (browsers), and Shopify.
So what makes an innovative culture? This is a question our clients often ask us. In this article, we are excited to share our top tips for fostering innovative, high-trust cultures using our proven approach called the Enterprise Change Pattern.
1. Decision Making at the Point of Work
Optimising your decision-making process can be the determining factor between failure and success. In agile organisations, the ability to quickly gather feedback, make decisions, and iterate based on that feedback is crucial for fostering an innovative culture. However, traditional hierarchical structures often limit the decision-making authority to a select few. And these few are detached from the actual work being done.
Research shows that teams empowered to make decisions collectively outperform individual decision-makers 66% of the time. Yet, shifting the decision-making dynamics within an organisation often requires a fundamental change in its structure. At AWA, we approach this challenge through our incremental “inspect and adapt” methodology. Right from the start, we ensure that those affected by the structural changes are involved. By including them in the process and giving them ownership, we foster a sense of satisfaction and commitment to the resulting changes. This includes devolved decision-making capabilities at the team level.
By embracing our approach, organisations can unlock the potential of their teams. Thus enabling faster and more effective decision-making. And ultimately driving improved performance and outcomes. We believe that organisations can tap into their collective intelligence. They can enable meaningful change by empowering the people closest to the work.
2. Managers Who Lead and Coach
The ability of an organisation to effectively respond to market demands in an agile way starts with its leaders. However, the type of leadership needed today is significantly different from what was required in the past. The traditional, outdated approach to leadership development is no longer sufficient to create the value necessary for shaping the future.
At AWA, we recognise the need for a new kind of leadership. One driven by purpose, creativity, curiosity, and empathy. We believe that true leadership skills are essential for those in management positions. That’s why we offer knowledge transfer in organisational design, development, and transformation, along with helping leaders enhance their emotional intelligence and self-awareness.
By equipping managers with these necessary skills, they can effectively support the agile transformation by understanding their roles and responsibilities. They also develop the capacity for empathy, coaching, and nurturing the growth of others. Once managers possess these essential skills, they can foster the relationships required to cultivate innovative and high-trust cultures within their teams.
We firmly believe that leadership development is a key driver of organisational success. By empowering leaders with the skills and mindset necessary to navigate the complexities of today’s business landscape, we can create a transformative impact that drives sustainable growth and long-term success.
3. Open, Collaborative, High-Trust Environments
Culture is shaped by the stories we share, the language we use, and the things we celebrate. It cannot be directly changed because it is a reflection of how we collaborate and work together. According to BCG 2017, open collaboration is a key characteristic of successful and innovative organisations. In fact, 77% of the most successful companies foster a culture of true collaboration.
Creating an environment that fosters open and genuine collaboration requires structural changes within an organisation that encourage new ways of working. One example we often observe when working with our clients, is the importance of viewing regular participation in open collaborative events, such as community of practice, as equally valuable as the ongoing work. This shift in mindset is not only necessary at the team level but also within the broader organisation.
We support our clients in establishing new collaborative practices. And in facilitating the necessary mindset shift to embrace a culture of innovation. We understand that enabling true collaboration requires more than just implementing tools and processes. It requires a fundamental shift in how people think and work together.
Through our expertise in organisational design and transformation, we help our clients create an environment where collaboration thrives. We empower teams to embrace new ways of working and drive a culture of innovation throughout the organisation by:
- breaking down silos
- fostering open communication
- encouraging active participation
With AWA’s support, your organisation can unlock the potential for collaboration, creativity, and innovation, leading to sustainable growth and a competitive edge in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape.
Finally, if you enjoyed this article, you might also like to find out why mindset matters and how it unlocks transformation.