While it’s quite commonly assumed that innovation occurs in a sudden “Eureka!” moment, businesses have known for a long time that it can be a gradual process, and that it can be fostered by company culture.
Innovation is critical for success. Not accepting the status quo, going beyond ‘good enough’ and ensuring that a company isn’t just looking to the future, but is actively trying to bring it closer can offer a significant advantage in business.
Is there such a thing as too much innovation?
Innovation is the search for new and better ways of doing things. Facebook, one of the most powerful companies on the planet, lives by the motto “Move fast and break things”, which to many embodies the ethos of never settling and always seeking to shake things up.
Many companies have looked at this ideal and tried to replicate it, but some now believe that the constant search for the ‘new’ is giving employees ‘innovation fatigue’ or ‘innovation stress’. It can quickly become counterproductive.
Recognising and creating the conditions for improvement
It’s important to recognise that innovation can come from every area and level of the business. It’s not the responsibility of one department, team or seniority level. To facilitate an innovative culture, the C-suite must communicate with all employees to ensure that they understand that they have the permission and the ability to innovate.
Employees need to feel engaged and valued. They need to understand and believe in the business goals to give direction to their input. Management that demands something new, better or more efficient doesn’t necessarily give employees the tools to innovate. Allowing everybody at every level of the company to understand what the business wants, where it’s heading and what it aims to achieve helps employees to make strategically valuable contributions.
Support and collaboration for innovation
Something truly new and inventive can be hard to conceptualise and explain. Employees may need support to communicate and deliver their vision. Supporting innovative practice closely will show employees that their suggestions and ideas are valued – in turn helping to keep them on board and working towards the company goals. Even unworkable ideas can become a learning experience, with every small failure informing the next big success.
Managers need a wide range of skills to cultivate a company culture that supports innovation without overburdening employees. The University of York has designed a 100% online Masters degree in Innovation, Leadership and Management to help innovative businesses flourish. All learning materials are delivered online, meaning that you’re free to study whenever and wherever it suits you – and you don’t need to take an extensive or costly career break in order to complete your MSc. It allows you to learn while you earn and apply what you learn to your current role.
There are six start dates per year, so you can start whenever you’re ready, and there are options to pay-per-module. You may also be eligible for a government-backed postgraduate loan to cover the cost of the course.
Company culture plays a big part in the success of innovation. Being able to demonstrate the right skills could not only play a big part in your own career, but also the future of an entire business.