English Insights

Creating a Culture of Innovation

By Shehara Alahakoon

There are many cultures in organizations, but do they foster a culture of innovation? Now, this does not mean that the team members should come up with genius ideas to crack the Da Vinci Code every single day. Innovation is not rocket science. If a team member identifies a sizeable burning issue pertaining to the organization or its stakeholders and have come up with a unique solution, that individual has taken the first step towards innovation. However, if the leadership or the management does not open their doors to such solutions, the concept of innovation has taken the backseat in the organization. Say, the management and leadership were to welcome such solutions and willing to use them to sort out the identified issue, would you say that it is fostering an innovative culture? Partly, yes. The most important element in a culture of innovation would be to use the unique solution in a way that it adds value to the organization.

Putting on the hat of innovation and being up to date with consumer behavior, it is clear that Digital PR is considered to be the way forward for all the industries, including the Public Relations industry in Sri Lanka. Innovation also assists in marking new heights in Reputation Management services in Sri Lanka with various creative and innovative activities to enhance Brand Reputation.

Whose responsibility is innovation?

Innovation is a collective effort in any organization. The management and the leadership should be able to drive the concept from the top, while the middle managers take the baton to drill it down to the support teams. One should not hinder the opportunities thinking ‘why me? why should I be innovative when there are loads of other people who can come up with brilliant ideas?’. Once the top management offers clarity in direction, they should also provide space to imagine. Unless the team members are given the freedom to innovate and the freedom to learn through failure, the team members will be stagnant and will be afraid to take bold steps towards an innovative culture. Providing adequate space for innovation enhances Employee Experience and its related services enabling the team to bring their authentic selves to work.

The concept of design thinking is highly popular amongst today’s businesses. It refers to an approach to innovation which is heavily focused on understanding the needs of the customers, prototyping the solutions, and bringing creative ideas to the table. It brings in revolutionary changes to the thought process of organizations and the way they operate. The wild ideas brought forth by the team members need to be aligned with the vision of an organization, while capturing, refining and building on the idea generated is what leads to innovation.
Design thinking is also inevitable for PR and Digital Consultancies especially in Sri Lanka. At the crux of it is constant change drive, openness culture and culture that embraces all these, enhancing people and skills and continuing to invest in Research and Development in Sri Lanka’s PR industry is paramount.

How does the concept of diversity and inclusion assist in fostering a culture of innovation?

A diverse group of individuals will bring in a varied experiences from varied backgrounds. When these individuals are secure about their acceptance within the organization, a feeling of belonging is created. This leads to the team members being authentic in sharing their innovative ideas with the management and the leadership. Diverse individuals – diverse ideas!

In conclusion, the concept of innovation is a collective effort in an organization which basically shapes the future of any organization. The senior management needs to be open minded in welcoming diverse ideas from the team members with proper recognition. Most of all, the leadership should be in a position to effectively use the ideas generated to add value to the organization and the internal and external stakeholders.


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