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3 things leaders can do to allow for an innovative company culture

At Harvey Nash we have always strived to remain entrepreneurial and pragmatic in our approach to how we develop our services. To think innovatively and continuously challenge our offering is part of us everyday. These are just some of our thoughts on how to secure innovation as part of your company culture.

Your company culture is created daily and to a large extent determined by what the leaders in your company do. Here are 3 ways in which leaders can move beyond innovation tools such as post-its, idea labs and concept posters to really ensure that you foster an innovative company culture.

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1) Strategy
As leader outline key trends impacting your business and how your business intends to use innovation to get ahead and leverage those trends. Appoint a team responsible for your innovation project and make it clear to them what type of ideas your company is willing to invest in, helping you avoid results too broad in scope, product and service. This would ultimately only lead to your innovation team feeling as though they have been wasting their time and effort when their ideas are not followed through or acted upon.

2) Investment process
Innovation works best when there is room for testing different ideas and engaging in a number of different bets. Remember: an underlying strategy is still needed. Avoid an investment process based on detailed business plans and delivery forecasts that once completed lead to one large investment. Instead, give the mandate to allow for many smaller investments aligned with your innovation strategy, offer support during test phase and then invest further in the ideas that produce most progress.

3) Incentives
Include innovation goals in your employees' annual plans along with your more usual revenue growth targets. Your employees need to know that they will be recognized and rewarded for their innovations.

Don't let your company invest in more innovation tools until you are certain that you are ready to let go of old-style management practices.