• Daniel Marti

Elements of an innovation culture

Updated: May 17


COMMITMENT AND PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY

THE BIGGEST DRIVER FOR TEAM SUCCESS IS PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY

All big companies already know what a successful leader is but no one really cares about what makes their teams successful. In a study published 2015 the People Operations team of Google found out, that it's neither their individual performance, their background, nor their experience. Rather surprisingly it was: "Team members feeling safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other".

To understand the power of psychological safety just think about some of your past and current projects. How often have you found yourself say any of the following – despite feeling very different at the time:

Yes, I'm fine

No, I don’t have any any questions

Of course we can do that

We are absolutely in the time plan

Of course we know what we are doing

We just had a difficult phase but we are back on track again

According to Harvard Professor Amy Edmondson, every time someone does not ask a question, raise a concern or voices an insecurity, they rob their team of an important learning opportunity. Only by being open, we can become better.

So we have to build environments where we feel safe enough to be honest, to share, to ask questions, to be open. Individual and team coaching can be an expensive way to work on this – but it’s also a great space for experimentation and prototyping and we are experts in building safe and high-performing working cultures in our projects!

CUSTOMER CENTRICITY

YOUR CUSTOMER IS YOUR ONLY PROOF OF CONCEPT, INVOLVE OR LOOSE YOUR CUSTOMER

"Customer Centricity" a buzzword but somehow it didn't arrive in today's business. So how can you truly embed a customer centric approach in your work?

You need courage, ownership and responsibility.

  • Listen to our customer and start solving actual problems of that customer. Don’t sit at your desk and imagine the types of problems your customers are facing – go out and meet the people who are your customers. Engage them, ask them questions, get them talking!

  • Use your customer as part of the solution. Involve your customer in the prototype phase from day one and not just at the end to perform some performa user acceptance test.

  • Map a customer journeys and go through the journey by yourself in different roles with different devices

  • Observe and Monitor the customer's interaction with your prototypes and don't be afraid of asking the uncomfortable questions like: “what can we do to improve your experience?”

  • Analyse your customer digitally, every interaction gives you data which can be analyzed to optimize the experience

Probably many of these points are familiar to you. None the less, they are hard to put into practice.

RISK AND FAILURE

THE FAILURE RATE IS 90%, SO YOU BETTER LEARN HOW TO DEAL WITH FAILURE

We realized that we can only do little about the success rate. 90% of all innovation projects are failing, which is ok. What is not ok is the time it takes companies and individuals to realize that they should ditch the project and focus their energy on something more promising.

Why is this so difficult? Innovation is prestige and status – which is tough to give up. If you lose your innovation project in a large organization, you also lose face. If you are really good, your career can take 1-2 of these failures, but if you have more of them, you will get stigmatized.

So what should you do? Manage expectations by being transparent. And then: fail early, fast and cheap by facing your moment of truth as quickly as possible and focus on future projects which eventually will succeed.

DOING VS TALKING # JUSTDOIT

IT’S ONLY INNOVATION IF YOU ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING

Many people today are “innovation leaders” – so why are there so few innovative solutions out there? At beyon we see two main reasons:

  • Innovation is hard. Much harder than making beautiful PowerPoint slides and telling compelling stories about a hypothetical brave new world.

  • Innovation is status. Everyone wants a piece of the pie, but not everyone is ready to embrace the messiness of innovation, face the failure rate and get outside the comfort zone.

So start building your prototypes and products, face your customer, get feedback, make smart decisions and only get back to your investors once you actually have a prototype to present. Like that you get the most bang for buck.

DIVERSITY

A VARIETY OF DIFFERENT SHAPED AND COLOURED BEARDS IS NOT DIVERSITY

There are hundreds of studies which show that diverse teams are significantly more successful. They are proven to have more and better ideas that lead to more ingenious solutions.

Unfortunately, the diversity conversation today is still very one-dimensional. Focussing on gender, race, etc. But true diversity, is diversity of thought. People with different experiences, backgrounds, upbringings, values and preferences. This is what we should be aiming for in a diverse team. There is no guarantee that gender and racial diversity will give you diversity of thought – but chances are higher than with an all-male, all-white team, no matter how fancy their beards are.

Start to include all types of diversity in your project teams, because diversity is the starting point for great solutions.

AMBITIOUS IDEAS

IT’S CREATIVITY AND NEW IDEAS WHICH WILL ACTUALLY SOLVE THE WORLDS PROBLEMS

A bad ass idea is the core of an innovation process. But how do you get to that crazy, gold dust brainchild?

  • Understand your problem in a way so you can explain it in 3 sentences

  • Gather an awesome team where people just simply love each other

  • Make sure they are relaxed and create an atmosphere where they feel safe to be bold

  • Give them some, but not too much time

Help them with the process by making at least three ideation phases. What you will realize is, you will get from common to unusual ideas. By combining these unusual an common ideas you reach novel spheres where we can find some gold dust.

Interested to learn more about these topics? Contact us on beyon.io

# culture # innovation # designthinking

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