As part of my series entitled “Creating A Culture Of Innovation”, I highlighted an approach back in August, that I’ve come up with to begin doing just that.
Here’s a great list of questions to ask the first line employees in your organization, to determine whether your organization is really serious about innovation being part of it’s culture. These questions are slightly modified versions of the questions outlined by Gary Hamel in the recent interview with McKinsey and Co.
1) “How have you been trained as a business innovator? What investment has the company made in teaching you how to innovate?”
Yes, this should be filtered down all the way to your companies lowest level employee.
2) “If you have an idea, how much bureaucracy do you have to go through to experiment with it? How long is it going to take for you to get a small percentage of your time and/or a relatively small amount of experimental capital to test your idea? Is it a matter of months, or is it very easy for that to happen?”
This falls in line with the “Nurture” step in my SANE approach. Companies that are serious about innovation being a part of their culture have systems, and processes in place to help nurture ideas. The build it into their budgets, and strategic plans.
3) “Are you actually being measured on your innovation performance, or your team’s innovation? Does it influence your compensation?”
“Put your money where your mouth is”. Companies that are serious about innovation will find ways to compensate employees for their innovative contributions, and provide incentives for continued innovation.
4) “As you look at the management process in your company, do they tend to help you work as an innovator or get in the way?”
This falls in line with the “Execute” step in my SANE approach.
Getting in the way doesn’t just mean getting involved and complicating things. It also means simply not doing everything possible to help innovative ideas that have been supported be brought to life.