Every January, business owners across the world swear that they’ll devote more time and effort to innovating in the coming year. Most of those leaders have sighed and succumbed to business-as-usual by April. To make innovation truly sustainable, it must be a priority at every level of your organization. Leadership must publicly celebrate both innovation success and failure — like the Tata Group does through its annual Dare to Try award, which is bestowed on the team with the best idea…that fell short.
It also means that employees aren’t just expected to innovate — they’re given time for it, like Google does through its 20 Percent Time program. There, engineers and project managers are granted 20% of their day to work on projects unrelated to their job duties.
In workplaces that haven’t yet embraced innovation as a top priority, I lead people through a technique called Commit to Innovation. It’s designed to boost and maintain innovation activity at all levels of your organization—and it starts with directing three simple questions to leadership.