Building a culture of innovation starts with creating the process and structure to support it. It’s not enough to simply talk about it.

Change management, innovation, transformation, and solving problems start with knowing and living your organizational values. This is important because your values will frame how you perceive problems. You also need to be close to your customers and understand their changing needs.

Once you start seeing opportunities or problems to solve, then you have to start developing ways to address them and start testing solutions quickly to find something that works. Then repeat the process until the solution is refined and integrated into the customer’s way of doing business.

This is nothing new.

However, these efforts are sometimes not successful because of the lack of follow through or the inability to get the customer to fully incorporate the solution into a company’s culture. Or worse, lack of support from within your organization.

How receptive is your organization to change or new ideas?

The ability of an organization to field ideas and emerging problems, however crazy, is a testament to the strength of a team or company.

The leadership challenge is immense.

Mishandle an idea, suggestion, or recommendation from someone, and you run the risk of potentially losing a supportive employee and poisoning the company culture.

Be supportive and seek understanding of new ideas as they flow in. You may come across a diamond in the rough.

[Photo: Hirschhorn Museum in Washington, DC.]

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