Do you have a culture of innovation? Let’s talk about it and find out. In the book Intrapreneuring in Action, the authors developed 19 traits of companies that have a culture of innovation. This is part four of a five-part series.
I’ve begun this entire intrapreneur series because some companies have to pivot because of COVID19, and I want to add value to their journey. Some companies are more prepared to pivot to new products and services than others.
These are four more items to test and see if you have a culture of innovation.
Tip 1 – Focus on customers
This sounds like an easy decision, but while time is important in pivoting, so is developing an offering customers will buy. How do you find that out? Ask them. It’s that simple.
Set up Zoom calls with all types of your employees, not just the salespeople. Have multi-functional groups meet with customers and ask how you can better meet their needs. Ask if they have ideas for new products that could supplement what they already buy.
One company learned that its customers always purchase an item from a different company to use with their product because they didn’t make it. How great is that information!
Tip 2 – Choice of internal suppliers
Allow your intrapreneurs the option of using internal suppliers if they meet their needs, or using external suppliers if they are a better fit. Forcing a group to use the internal marketing team to develop marketing materials of an entirely different product may not result in creative thinking.
It might be quicker to search for and use marketing resources that have done similar work before. Your lead time probably will be reduced due to less data gathering and conceptualization. The results might be better as well. It’s their budget, allow them to use it as they see fit.
Tip 3 – Measurement of innovation
What gets measured gets managed. What measurements are you putting in place to measure your innovation? The problem with many metrics is that they are driven by a short time frame and are backward-looking.
Here are some suggestions for measurements: the number of new patents. The number of new products introduced in a representative time frame. 6 months to 2 years. The number of new markets that have been engaged. Revenue generated from the new products. Margin and cost reduction within the new offerings.
Tip 4 – Transparency and truth
Increasing transparency in an established organization is not easy. As leaders, you must share what information you can with teams of intrapreneurs. If you can’t share actual numbers, develop dashboards so that employees understand how the company is performing.
I worked with a company adamant about not sharing actual numbers with employees. They developed red, yellow, and green dashboards instead and were still transparent.
If you follow these steps, you will have a better culture innovation!
As always, it is an honor to serve you, and I hope that you and your company are getting better every day!
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