I’ve thought a lot lately about innovation and creation. There are lots of ways that we can try to improve our total creative quality and output as an organization. The first, and most obvious choice, is to try and find and surround ourselves with innovative people. We’ve gone from a group of four very talented folks in our office to over fifty in the last four months. Check. Now what?
Now we have to think about fostering an environment that enables people to be creative and innovative. What I have come to find is that talking about culture is really easy. But, doing anything about culture is MUCH harder. Actually trying to drive cultural change or evolution can be very trying work, and it often doesn’t feel like any progress is being made.
So I have done some research and thinking about the best way to create a culture of innovation, and here’s what I’ve got so far. You have to:
So, why does this matter? Well, simply put: people are hard enough to manage when you are not expecting them to innovate or be creative. Adding this (very high) expectation to the mix is no small matter. Doing so without creating the right environment for success is a recipe for disappointment.
Also, take it from someone who is learning the hard way: focus on the culture early, before it gets too far ahead of you. It’s a lot harder to play catch-up and drive cultural change than it is to be thoughtful about it from day one!