To make innovation sustainable, it must be supported at every level of your organization. Leadership needs to celebrate both innovation success and failure — like the Tata Group does through its Dare to Try award, which is bestowed annually 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. The 20 Percent Time program at Google is an example of innovation commitment in action: engineers and project managers are actually granted 20% of their day to work on projects unrelated to their job duties.
If people aren’t affirming innovation as a top priority, gather leadership for an exercise called Commit to Innovation. It’s designed to prompt action upon reflection and discussion of the following three questions.
1.) What three activities can you start doing today to be more innovative?
Sample activities could be:
· “I’ll collaborate with X department or Y person to encourage better idea-building.“
· “I’ll establish and help manage an idea-submission portal.”
· “I’ll seek out one new perspective a week by engaging in dialogue with a different person, employee, or external resource.”