How You Can Develop a Business Strategy That Integrates Innovation Into Your Workplace Culture

How to Develop a Business Strategy That Integrates Innovation Into Your Workplace
This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series Eight Ways to Innovate

When you started your company and built it up from scratch, you never imagined that you’d eventually be hitting the “panic” button. But lately, the landsliding business environment has made it difficult not to enter survival mode.

Before you close up shop and wait out the COVID-19 pandemic or the arduous journey toward Brexit, let’s think about 8 ways you can incorporate innovation into your business to help you come out of lockdown stronger than ever.

In our 8-part series, we’ll look at ways you can innovate your business:

  1. Innovate Your Business With Bold Strategies
  2. Innovate Your Business With a New Business Model
  3. Innovate Your Business With Better Products and Services
  4. Innovate Your Business With Process Improvements
  5. Innovate Your Business With Marketing Techniques
  6. Innovate Your Business By Adopting New Technology
  7. Innovate Your Business By Revamping Your Supply Chain
  8. Innovate Your Business With Your People and Culture

For the first part, let’s investigate how improving your business strategy can unlock innovation throughout your business.

A look at business strategy

What is strategy? A business strategy is the guiding principle of your company. It’s how your company achieves its objectives. It adds up to the way you do your business.

You want innovation to be part of the way you do your work, right? So make it part of your strategy!

Your business strategy impacts almost every action, every hiring choice and nearly every other business decision within your organization, so be sure to take it seriously.

How to embed innovation in your business strategy

Let’s look at some tangible steps your business can take to integrate innovation into the way your company accomplishes its goals.

Consider innovation as an input to your success.

  • Innovation is often viewed as the end-point, not as a means to an end.
  • In reality, your company’s mission and objectives are the real things you should strive for. Innovation should be a way to get there – as an input to your success.

Track your innovation.

  • In order to determine if your business is being innovative, you have to track it.
  • Innovation experts agree that innovation should be a metric in your company’s valuation of success, whether through a scorecard, your Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), or some other means.
  • By securing innovation as a measurement, you can connect innovation to your short and long-term results.
  • Design a good template for employees to keep track of their innovations. Make it accessible to everyone, through cloud storage or a networked drive, to make sure it’s embedded at all levels and utilized by all employees.

Define innovation in order to track it.

  • So many businesses fail at tracking innovation because they simply can’t define it. In most cases, companies track “growth”, which will often be directly impacted by innovation.
  • Instead, separate the term “innovation” from the larger buckets of “growth” or other financial metrics you use to track progress.
  • You might be surprised to find that innovation can come from many departments. If the marketing department did a rebrand of your business to be more appealing to new demographics, you should track it! If your back-end developers streamlined software code to increase the loading speeds of your mobile apps, track it!
  • It’s easy for innovation outcomes to get lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday business. But by having clear definitions for innovation, you can celebrate your successes and integrate innovation into your workplace much more easily.

Integrate your work teams together.

  • Miscommunication can destroy projects in your organization.
  • To improve communication among work units and among employees or partners, try to integrate projects as an organic process. Try doing your brainstorming exercises together and combine the expertise of many different employees and subject matter experts. It’s a much better way to do business rather than working separately and trying to combine everyone’s suggestions after the fact.
  • If there is a company-wide innovation committee, make sure that there is a representative from every business area at the table.

Build a culture of innovation.

  • Struggling to get innovative ideas off the ground? Are projects getting stuck at the approval stage? Chances are, your innovation plans are either disorganized or not getting “sold” to senior management.
  • Try incorporating fun (and more efficient) ways of being innovative. Try doing innovation pitches in the style of the TV programme Dragon’s Den. It can be fun and rewarding to have employees plan and build pitches to senior management about innovative new projects and ideas.
  • Doing so can enhance traction and buy-in because teams demonstrate their passion and commitment, which can be persuasive and infectious. Read more about this idea here.

Get senior leader endorsement.

  • Get a senior leader to be a sponsor of innovation. Doing so shows accountability and commitment for innovation. Their professional performance can be based on how well they promote innovation at work.

Set up a separate fund for innovation projects.

  • By keeping dedicated resources for innovation, there will be less competition and you won’t have to make the difficult decisions to pull funds away from other departments if you want to implement an innovative new idea.

Monitor trends in your business sector.

  • By keeping an eye out on what your competitors are doing, you can get inspired to improve and redesign new products and services or expand into new markets.
  • Doing so helps keep your business innovative and competitive.

The benefits of combining innovation with business strategy

By incorporating innovation into the way your business accomplishes its goals, you’ll reap many benefits:

  • Better senior leader buy-in. If it’s in a strategy, senior leaders are more likely to agree to innovation projects because they directly connect to your business plan.
  • Increased innovation funding opportunities from within the company;
  • Improved inspiration and innovative thinking by employees and teams; and,
  • Increased productivity, smarter utilization of technology and more value added to your customers and clients.

Think you have what it takes to successfully integrate innovation into your business strategy? Great! – but why stop there? In the next post, we’ll see if you’re up to the challenge of innovating your business model.

Series NavigationThe Top 3 Things To Consider When Innovating Your Business Model >>
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