Innovation requires the introduction of procedures that promote communication and the exchange of ideas. It is a pooling of intelligence.
SMEs wishing to improve their innovation culture should focus on training and development of their employees. In fact, a knowledge toolkit that is constantly updated is essential for resolving problems.
Innovation requires an entrepreneurial spirit. It implies the ability to cope with opposition and difficulties. Employees must sometimes learn to develop certain aptitudes such as motivation or competitiveness. Entrepreneurs can promote these factors; for example, by selecting a “champion” within their company. Highly motivated employees contribute significantly to the right climate for innovation.
Innovation requires cooperation. And cooperation requires communication. Indeed, the most important tool for collaboration between partners is the mutual exchange of information.
You can encourage cooperation by:
- Entering into dialogue, not monologue
- Asking questions
- Expressing yourself clearly
- Using the language of the person you are talking to
- Listening carefully
- Attracting and holding the attention of the person you are talking to
- Creating a positive relationship
- Focusing information on a theme or a goal
- Using illustrations
- Harnessing emotions
In an innovative organization culture, particularly open and intense communication exists between management and employees and between employees themselves. This type of organization is favored by an appropriate infrastructure such as:
- Lots of meeting points
- Open doors and offices with glass partitions
- Open space offices
- Staff restaurant
- Shared breakfast
- Shared events
- Intranet and/or discussion forum
An innovation mindset can be significantly stimulated by a system of attractive, transparent bonuses. These bonuses can be tangible or intangible:
- Tangible bonuses: financial benefits (reward system, special bonuses, salary based on output, bonus system, etc.), cash benefits (addition to salary in the form of better social security benefits, rebates, etc.).
- Intangible bonuses: social benefits (contact with employees, superiors, customers, suppliers, etc., promotions, recognition), organizational benefits (size, image, location of company), benefits associated with the job itself (work content and conditions, autonomy, recognition).
Source: Innovationsmanagement für KMU, Haupt, 2012.