Five ways to create a culture of innovation

Are you bringing innovation to your company? We explain why creating a culture of innovation in your company should be a core business strategy for any organization, and one that help individuals bring creativity to their respective roles.

In order to create a culture of innovation, there are numerous strategies you can employ. Here are five ways to generate innovation.

1. Engage everyone 

Don’t limit your chances of helping to create the next big innovation by only engaging senior creative members of your company.

For example, AXA’s internal innovation program, Start-In, gives every AXA employee – whatever their field of competence, country, or hierarchical position – the opportunity to propose ideas to solve key business issues.

This year, employees from 45 countries posted more than 815 ideas on a dedicated platform. At the end of a thorough selection process, the four winning teams participated in a four-day “hackathon” in order to turn their ideas into prototypes.

Some of the best ideas and greatest inventions come from novices and junior employees, says internationally acclaimed expert on creativity and innovation, Sir Ken Robinson.

Robinson encourages organizations to relax hierarchies and change outdated assumptions about intelligence and creativity. In doing so, individuals can unleash their real potential.  

2. Visualize and focus on outcomes

Mindfulness and visualization are the buzzwords of self-help gurus, such as Tony Robbins, who encourages business leaders to embrace its power. Visualization can be practiced by spending some time each day envisioning what we want – setting up goals to achieve successful outcomes. Leaders have found that by encouraging employees and teams to focus on the goal and the results, it frees up time and energy for their creative process to flourish. 

3. Embrace failure  

Steve Jobs is remembered as a success story, but as he told students at Stanford University in 2005, it was his “very public failure” when he was fired from Apple that led to his greatest success.

“At 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating,” Jobs, a college drop-out, said in his commencement address to the graduating class.

“I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.”

Jobs was a leader who believed that by failing can be a learning experience, opening up new ideas and encouraging creativity and innovation. 

4. Collaborate 

Explore opportunities to collaborate and liaise with networks, universities and think tanks, which is what AXA Lab, a digital acceleration strategy aims to do.

Launched in 2013, AXA Lab identifies and collaborates with start-ups and new talents. It has been instrumental in the design and implementation of corporate online training courses.

In 2014, AXA Lab attended more than 10 tech conferences, has initiated contacts with more than 150 start-ups, tech companies, and innovation hubs. To learn more: 

5. Hire or facilitate innovators

If you’re not an innovator yourself, you can powerfully contribute to innovation culture by hiring innovators or by encouraging and facilitating innovators. AXA’s Data Innovation Lab uses data analytics to see what new products or services can be developed. There are ways to foster innovation in a variety of ways. Optimizing the blend of personalities and skills in any organization is never easy, nor ideal, and people who can make progress here are as valuable as the innovation that results.