As a leader you can institutionalize innovation in your organization by creating an innovation biome, or a sustained environment where innovating becomes a habit. Creating the innovation biome, however, requires all elements (teams, departments, priorities, etc) residing within your organization to act in concert and support each other. If your corporation seeks to alter its genetic code and transform itself into an innovative juggernaut, then it needs to operate with an exceptionally high degree of conviction and shared belief that innovation is a priority. This is the number one factor that drives organization-wide innovation.
Shared belief has incredible power, probably more so than any other factor that drives change. Shared belief in a vision provides everyone involved with the confidence to go all-in and help make the vision a reality. Any ambiguity or second-guessing makes the already challenging task of moving a company in a new direction a lot harder.
Or learn from Apple’s example, when it launched the iPhone with a degree of commitment and conviction that made irrelevant one of the most desirable products of the time, its own iPod. There was nothing wishy-washy about the launch of the iPhone, no “minimally viable product,” no “let’s wait and see how it does.” It was full commitment from the leadership of the organization. The company went all-in, knowing full well that they were risking the sexiest product of the time with an untested device.
For the better part of the past decade, most people have considered Apple to be the most innovative company in the world. This is not because Apple kept proclaiming it was innovative; it is because it kept churning out one game-changing product after another. Now, everyone expects Apple to produce nothing short of breathtaking innovation. This shared expectation results in exactly that—breakthrough innovations. The perfect upward spiral. The belief is shared by everyone: Apple’s customers, employees, shareholders, partners, and even competitors.
Dr. Kumar Mehta, author of THE INNOVATION BIOME, has been at the forefront of innovation, research, and data analytics for over 25 years. He founded Bridges Insight, an innovation think tank committed to researching innovation and helping organizations accelerate their rate of innovation. He has applied many innovation frameworks in his fourteen years at Microsoft and throughout his tenure building out innovative companies. Mehta also serves as a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for the Digital Future at the University of Southern California and serves on the board of The Committee for Children. For more information, please visit www.BridgesInsight.com.