Five steps to creating a culture of innovation
Source: McGill Consulting Goup , Author: Posted by BI-ME staff
Posted: Wed May 16, 2012 7:10 pm

UAE. Conventional management thinking has put an over emphasis on the processes and systems that allow for innovation to take place.  Although, that is important, the real success of innovation starts with a culture of innovation. 

The culture of innovation is what governs the systems and processes that ensure innovation happens.  At McGill Consulting Group, Nader Sabry the managing partner says “we help our clients instill five very important characteristics to help foster innovation” and he also adds “we see the culture of innovation as the single source of competitiveness that is truly sustainable”.  These five characteristics of building a culture of innovation are:

1. Think far and step near.
Clarify and define your long-term vision, but take small steps forward.  Start working backwards from the future to the present.  This leads to a culture of simplicity. 

The barrier to simplicity is, not attempting to see all possibilities then breaking them down into smaller meaningful parts. Systematic thinking through problems is a practice that must be instilled at all levels.

2. Passion and purpose.
Combine energy and direction and you have an unstoppable force.  Start by infusing your team with energy and use it to drive determination.   This leads to a culture of nothing is impossible.

The barrier to impossibility is, being consistently reminded of what can, and might go wrong.   This causes less risk taking, and the hope of new ideas taking form.  More emphasis needs to be placed on what can, and will go right.

3. Fearlessness and safety.
Encourage courage and ensure a safe environment for bravery to take place. Start allowing your team to take risks without consequences but with responsibility.  This leads to a culture of daringness.

The barrier to daringness is, lack of faith in the unknown rather than the great possibilities the unknown has to offer. Without having confidence in better possibilities in places never explored, no discovers will be made.

4. Quick failure, faster success.
Experiment quickly to see what fails, so you find what works even faster.  Start by testing ideas, even if they aren’t ready or enough resources in place.   This leads to a culture of learning.

The barrier to learning is, a lack of willingness to try new things.  This causes stagnant thinking, which doesn’t allow for new ideas to take birth.  Make experimentation a habit and a hobby.

5. Diversify to the maximum.   
Different perspectives and experiences form entirely new ideas.  Start by bringing people with different backgrounds, experiences and opinions.  This leads to a culture of imagination.

The barrier to imagination is the lack of value placed on thinking vs. following norms.  The imagination is a muscle and it needs to be exercised.  Without exercise it will become weaker with time. 

Keep things simple, pursue the impossible, be daring, learn as much as you can and finally be imaginative.  No matter what line of business you’re in, or how challenging your organizations’ situation may be. 

These five elements of culture will lead to superior results.  These cultural characteristics aren't just for startups only but for multinationals and governments. 

Last but not least, don’t stop innovating no matter what.  Keep it moving, and it will keep paying off.

About McGill Consulting Group

McGill Consulting Group is a global management-consulting firm, helping the world's top businesses, governments, and institutions to address their biggest challenges by helping our clients gain advantage, innovate and add value to their customers.

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