As companies innovate, they are becoming interested in creating corporate cultures that facilitate creativity. Businesses can foster a culture of innovation in several ways depending on their goals, mission, and values. Ultimately, the innovation culture of every organization ends up being unique.
Still, companies can seek inspiration in how other organizations have encouraged their employees to think outside of the box and try new approaches to problem solving. Seeing the best practices other organizations have implemented can lead to ideas about how to make your own policies more supportive of innovation.
Here are five of the most notable global companies in terms of creating a culture of innovation:
One of the most well-known animation studios in the world, Pixar fosters its innovation culture by emphasizing the overall wellbeing of its employees, especially psychological health. This is important because Pixar takes the input of all creative directors very seriously. In other words, even the harshest feedback is considered seriously so that the final product is as excellent as possible. Because of this, employees are given full support to pursue whatever they need to maintain their psychological health.
At the same time, because this openness applies to everyone, there is a culture of acceptance and willingness to respond to feedback that is not always present at creative organizations. All these results in an incredible amount of trust between employees and between employees and their supervisors. Ultimately, creatives feel comfortable putting radical ideas out there knowing that the feedback they get will be honest and constructive.
Since its inception, Dell has remained a leader in computer technology. The company maintains that customer experience is paramount to achieving market dominance. To that end, Dell focuses not on delivering the best technologies, but rather than best solutions. The company understands that innovation depends on an understanding of what customers are looking for and keeping a finger on the pulse of changing needs.
Everyone at the company focuses on serving customers and improving services from this perspective. Constant customer engagement helps Dell identify new areas for innovation quickly and deliver new services and products faster than other companies. The focus is not on technology development, but rather product integration to deliver the best overall solutions possible.
3. Proctor & Gamble
For nearly 200 years, Proctor & Gamble has been a leader in several different fields. Today, the organization oversees a wide variety of subsidiaries, all of which have innovation as a core value. At Proctor & Gamble, innovation is considered innate to its process, so the organization approaches it systematically. This means that it includes specific metrics for innovation as part of its process.
Creativity drives innovation at the organization. Problems with products are analyzed to identify solutions that do not involve sacrificing features. Ultimately, the real problems of actual customers are used as motivation to drive innovation.
One of the leaders in the computer revolution, Microsoft lost its share of the market as smaller, more agile companies claimed market share. The culture at Microsoft became very bureaucratic and innovation stagnated. However, this has changed since Satya Nadella took the helm as the company’s new CEO. He has implemented significant cultural change, starting with more interaction with existing and prospective customers to make them feel heard and valued. This provided new objectives in terms of innovation.
At the same time, employees were given the opportunity to develop new skills, which allowed them to apply new ways of thinking to existing products. Ultimately, the overall culture became much more humble, empathetic, and purpose-driven, leaving him to innovation and growth that has reinvigorated the company. This shift required an impressive investment of time and money that threatened the company’s survival, but ultimately created a much stronger organization.
After redefining the electric vehicle market, Tesla has maintained its place on the leading edge of new technology development. This is largely due to the company’s focus on remaining agile by empowering all employees to explore novel ideas. The organization trusts its employees to identify and implement industry-disrupting ideas. Tesla trains its employees to push beyond the typical limits of creativity and productivity and gets their buy-in by linking individual actions to the larger achievements of the company.
Employees are encouraged to think like business owners, which empowers them to try new things while instilling a strong sense of personal responsibility for the success of Tesla. Such a culture puts a lot of stress on employees, and Tesla has gotten a lot of legitimate criticism for its demanding approach. At the same time, some people thrive in this sort of environment. These are the employees Tesla wants to hire, even if it means bringing on individuals who sometimes cannot handle the stress.