Five success factors of highly innovative companies
When implementing innovations, companies often ask themselves this question: What is more important? Is it the innovation process or the innovation culture of a company? Answers are provided by our innovation management study, which you can download free of charge: Processes are tools to channel and sort innovation projects from idea generation to successful implementation. However, companies do not have access to their employees’ ideas by generating or defining a process. Ideas are promoted through communication, exchange and freedom – combined with high standards. In our free study, you will learn what characterizes highly innovative companies and how they can increase their innovation capability by establishing an innovation culture.
Scientific study on the innovation culture of companies
The aim of our study on innovation culture was to find out what highly innovative companies are doing to promote innovation in their organizations and how they have created business and work structures to do so. More than 300 academic studies were evaluated for the study. The questions were as follows:
Where do new ideas come from in the company? How are ideas generated in the company?
- Organizational structure: How does the company ensure that new ideas can develop within the organization? How does the company ensure that new ideas do not get stuck in the structure?
- Leadership style: How do managers motivate their employees to think creatively? What are the key leadership principles within the organization?
- Employees: Which employees does the company hire? How does the company ensure diversity within the teams? In what environment do employees work?
- Tools and methods: What kind of methods does the company use to generate new ideas?
In this article, you will be introduced to the most important success factors. You can read about the scientific foundation in our free study.
Success factor 1: A different understanding of innovation
The companies we analyzed have embedded creativity deeply into their DNA. Tools and processes do not serve to initiate creative thinking processes, but to support them as best they can. Several companies support this using modern idea management software and innovation management software. These tools allow them to promote innovation within their organizations.
Success factor 2: Risk-taking as corporate value
Highly innovative companies have anchored entrepreneurial risk as a value. Employees are challenged to take risks. They are expected to explore new paths, try them out and simply try to find new business concepts, new technology concepts or new areas of application.
Success factor 3: Customer orientation
Highly innovative companies are strongly customer-oriented. They look closely at what their customers are doing, ask what they need and consider to what extent they can find potential for improvement. They are constantly looking for trends so that they can not only follow their customers’ developments, but are two or three steps ahead if possible.
Success factor 4: Innovation leadership
Highly innovative companies are characterized by a management style that differs from other companies. Trust is an important factor. Employees are given tasks and choose the way in which these tasks are implemented. In the end, employees are expected to take a great deal of personal responsibility. Conventional control mechanisms are often not found in these companies or only to a very limited extent. Managers tend to have a supportive and facilitating function.
Success factor 5: Innovation dominates the entire company
In highly innovative companies, innovation plays a role in everything: employee selection, incentive design, compensation, leadership behavior and much more. There are companies that have created an almost egalitarian system in which classical hierarchies play practically no role anymore. But there are also opportunities within hierarchical systems to build a culture of innovation. Since 2007, the Indian Tata Group has been relying on an unusual innovation competition in which not only the best and most successful innovations are honored, but also those that fail. The company awards a prize for an innovation that has been seriously tried but then failed.