Innovation and creativity are essential to compete in modern markets. Companies like Apple, IKEA, and Google work hard to develop the culture, processes, and habits that drive their success.
But how can you be innovative? Is there a way to assess innovation?
Ideo, an international design agency, has tried to do this. After studying several projects carried out in the past, focused on innovative thinking, the company realized that define what was innovation, especially considering very diverse contexts, it was almost impossible.
There are 6 qualities that help drive any organization to become more creatively competitive.
The degree to which there is alignment about a meaningful change that leadership and employees want to make in the world. Scoring high on purpose requires that the purpose is clear, inspires passion in employees, and helps to inform most major decisions.
LOOKING OUT: The degree to which employees get insights and inspiration from beyond the company’s walls. Companies who do well on this score have a strong sense of who their customer is, what’s happening in their market, and what major trends (technical or social) might be leveraged towards the organization’s goals.
EXPERIMENTATION: The degree to which a company is able to explore new ideas quickly and inexpensively. Good experimenters have low bureaucracy in the way of testing new ideas with customers or users. They do a good job of sharing discoveries across the organization, and have a healthy attitude towards controlled failure, knowing that some will be necessary to help discover new opportunities.
COLLABORATION: The degree to which employees of different roles and within different departments work together to bring new ideas forward. Organizations with a high collaboration score tend to create multi-disciplined teams where members with different skills respect and value each other’s craft.
EMPOWERMENT: The degree to which the organization provides a clear path for employees to create change. These organizations create meaningful jobs where employees are confident that they can improve things for the better if they do their job well. Employees have a reasonable amount of autonomy, and performance metrics and responsibilities are well calibrated to provide guidance, without perverting incentives to cause unproductive behavior.
REFINEMENT: The degree to which the strategy, product, and design functions within a company, play nicely with the execution roles as new ideas move towards implementation. These companies do a good job of problem solving as concepts move from broad outlines to detailed specifics. These companies avoid feature creep, and find elegant solutions to the technical challenges that emerge during development. The results are beautiful, well crafted products or systems, that achieve the original purpose of the design.