How to Foster a Culture of Innovation

Halloran Consulting Group Managing Director, Joanna Engelke, was recently featured in the Thought Leader’s Corner section of Healthcare Innovation News’ weekly newsletter responding to the question: How do you build a culture of innovation within your organization?

 

Joanna shared the following insight:

A culture of innovation should be a top priority of every enterprise because it is the driver of higher value for customers and could translate into success when compared to competitors. Innovation belongs in all functions and levels of an organization. Even a “low-tech” company needs to find faster, higher quality, lower cost ways of delivering its products and services.

There are numerous best practices cited to support an innovative culture:

  • Enabling employees to spend 5% to 10% of their time on freethinking and creating “skunkworks” projects—those dedicated solely to radical innovation.
  • Creating office designs that encourage “bumping into each other” with lots of light, mobile whiteboards, huddle rooms, collaboration centers and games.
  • Investing in an internal, venture capital-like fund with all the trappings of pitches, business plans, proof of concept and funding milestones that are outside a regular product development arena.
  • Sponsoring crowd-sourced, problem-solving fairs for internal and external participation.
  • Surveying employees to gain an understanding of internal practices that block or prevent innovation.
  • Rewarding innovation in each department of an organization.

But the real secret sauce to an innovative culture is very basic: Management must pay attention. Over time, organizations follow what interests management. If it supports innovation, talks about it, looks for it and praises it when it happens, then the ideas above—and lots more—will naturally flow. While the concept might sound simple, making it happen is not always easy. Management can become busy with meetings, processes and deliverables and lose focus on innovation. But if leadership cares about innovation and gets behind it, appropriate tactics should follow along with a flourishing, innovative culture.

Subscribers to Healthcare Innovation News will find Joanna’s insight by following this link.