Creating the Habit of Innovation in Your Organisation
For years now we have been obsessed with creating a culture of innovation in our organisations, we have installed innovation hubs, completed sprints, organised design days and hackathons while all of this investment may have produced benefits for some companies, for most the benefits aren’t felt long term because ultimately the culture doesn’t change. The culture doesn’t change because our daily habits don’t change. We slip back into the same habits that we think have served us since we became mature members of the workforce.
Apparently 95% of our day is ruled by the this habitual mind
To say we are creatures of habit is an understatement. Apparently 95% of our day is ruled by the this habitual mind. Our day is controlled by our preprogramed habits, both mental and physical. Behaviours that we have learned, habits that we have created both intentionally and unintentionally and actions that we do everyday simply because we did them yesterday and the day before that. Most of these habits are unconscious, we are not consciously aware that we are doing them.
Habits are controlled by the most primitive part of the brain, and as we know our primitive brain is more concerned with survival, reproduction and pleasure seeking than making space for creativity, problem solving and divergent thinking.
The primitive brain is not capable of thinking differently, outside the box, beyond previous boundaries nor into cross functional possibilities. The primitive brain does not thrive on curiosity, imagination and design thinking. So you see where our problems lies.
If Innovation is important for the future of your organisation you need to move your organisation away from the habitual practices that have been running the show for the past number of years.
How do we step out of this matrix type state and take back the control of our day and our mind. Like with most things it starts with awareness. The mere fact that you know what you now know means that you can start to take action to take back some of the control of these unconscious thoughts and behaviours.
By spending time daily observing your thoughts and your actions you can start to access if these thoughts and actions are serving you, if they are helping you to reach your goals and ensuring your future success. Other than awareness below are three habits that you can create in your daily environment that will ensure that you can make space for fostering and growing a culture of Innovation in your organisation.
While some would think that productivity and creativity are incompatible the former stifling the later, this is untrue. In my experience productivity enables creativity. Firstly being organised and clutter free allows you to make space for creativity. This creates mental space as well as the physical space needed to include time for innovative thinking. The second benefit of productivity is creating processes for innovation. If you want to create a culture or habit of innovation in your organisation, it is necessary to create a process to enable it to happen. Following routines and rituals can help to foster a certain mind-set and encourage different more innovative habits.
Let the questioning continue, the ability of the person is in asking questions…..
An essential component of a culture of innovation is an Interrogative culture. Always asking the question, how can we be better. The trick is to ask this question upside down, back to front and inside out. Only at looking at things form different perspectives, through different lenses, will the diamonds be found. Fostering Creativity and Curiosity will come more easily in a thinking organisation, an organisation committed to growing their people. Supporting your people with a structured development plan will encourage people towards a more open mindset, continuously learning, continuously improving. When it becomes the norm to look beyond your own systems and ways of doing things you will reap the benefits of having people who think in a different way.
Perhaps one of the better know components of a culture of innovation but the least enacted. As human beings we don’t like failure, we can adopt an optimistic attitude and trudge on but it generally leaves a bad taste in our mouth. Some deal with it better than others and some managers say that its ok to fail but really they are seething inside! One way to deal with failure is to celebrate it. Have a Failure Party to put the concept to bed. Have food and drink and pay homage to the idea that didn’t work. To embrace this failure the leadership team must be involved and acknowledge that failure is part of success.
Making space for these habits and others will move your organisation closer to making Innovation part of the companies DNA. Doing sporadic sprints won’t create a culture, where consciously creating habits and rituals will.
Ciara Conlon is a High Performance Leadership Coach, Speaker and co-founder of Spirit Leadership. She is the author of three books, her most recent publication Rise Before Your Bull and other Habits of Successful People is available here
If you want to find out more about how we can help your team create create the habit of Innovation, get in touch via the contact page