Building a Greenhouse for Innovation

Da Vinci. Einstein. Edison. Just some of the minds that shaped our world, innovating and transforming almost every field of activity – from painting to technology to business. If they’d been born in the late 20th century, they’d probably be working at (or running) some of the world’s most innovative businesses right now. And doing well: digitally innovative companies are 26% more profitable than competitors, according to research from MIT.

But why is innovation important to your business, specifically? Before you try to harness innovation, you should have a clear vision of what you’re trying to achieve, and why. Then you can present your vision in management meetings, discuss it with peers, bring it up in conversations, until everyone knows why innovation and digital transformation are vital to the company.

And when your vision has been communicated, you can begin shaping a culture that nurtures it.

Cultivate the culture

A culture of innovation encourages exploration and experimentation, all the time, at every level – from boardroom to server room, and corner office to middle cubicle. Events such as hackathons or ideas competitions show innovation is a priority, and inspire everyone to get involved, but they aren’t enough on their own. Innovative thinking should be part of each working day.Toyota is a perfect example of innovation culture, as anyone can suggest ideas, from a simple widget to a new process. Globally, Toyota was the best-selling automotive brand of 2017, [1] so you can’t argue with their results.

But a culture like this must be underpinned by the right tools for innovation to flourish.

Tools for transformation

Innovation relies on flexibility, agility, and tools that support fast experimentation, whether it’s better APIs, faster analytics, or scalable cloud capability. You want your innovators able to work from anywhere, with better insights, and smooth access to data. This way, they can quickly find out what works and what doesn’t, adjusting as they go.

Recently, I took part in a series of Oracle roundtables exploring how several leading brands are transforming their businesses to encourage innovation. All of the participants agreed that culture and tools are the foundations of change, but they’re just the first steps.

Read our report, Delivering on The Promise of Digital Innovation, to learn what else these business leaders recommend. 

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