How to Foster Bottom-up Innovation in Your Company

From Seth Godin’s “Purple Cow” concept to 1,200 CEOs surveyed by PwC, the refrain can be heard everywhere: innovation is essential for any organization to grow.

As a crucial component of business success, fostering innovation sure is a tough nut to crack. Everyone wants it, but no one really knows how to get it. The command to “be innovative” is often given, but the right tools and culture are rarely in place to encourage it.

While there’s no magic bullet to make your company and employees more innovative (keep reading!), the right leadership and culture, coupled with an easily deployable social intranet platform, can help you get the ball rolling and the new ideas flowing.

Here are a few of our top tips to help you transform your culture, leadership and social intranet into catalysts for innovation.

Don’t Assume Innovation Can be Delegated

While innovation might sound like something so valuable that it belongs strictly in the research and development department or on the agenda at a C-suite executive meeting, it cannot be delegated. The motivation and encouragement to innovate certainly begins at the top of an organization, but it shouldn’t stay or end there. Executives need to make time and space for freethinking that can lead to innovation, and ensure that it ends up on everyone’s agenda within the organization.

Create a Forum for Sharing Knowledge and Ideas

Here’s where a social intranet comes into play. A social intranet platform that acts as a repository for all company information and documents, as well as a social meeting place for the minds, makes it easy for employees to have a window into projects across the entire company. This provides more fodder for more people for more ideas and also unites everyone across the organization, enabling them to come together and brainstorm more easily. The more connected and informed you make your employees, the better you equip them to come up with a great solution or big idea.

Reset the Culture and Remove the Fear

For a social intranet to be a successful marketplace to exchange knowledge and new ideas, employees and management have to experience a culture reset. Unless you’re the black sheep of companies seeking success, you probably reward workers based on efficiency and their ability to produce and deliver. As such, consistency – not out of the box thinkingis often rewarded. Taking risks and trying something new that might work (and potentially work better) is often sidestepped for doing the same old tried-and-true tasks that certainly will work.

Because a social intranet is, as the name implies, social and all-inclusive, it’s a great place to communicate culture from the top-down. Management and executives can use it to easily and effortlessly engage with employees and communicate company values and corporate culture. By offering positive feedback, affirmation, asking questions and creating an atmosphere of “your ideas are safe here,” management can use a social intranet in a powerful way to foster innovation.

Innovation used to be seen as a top-down initiative. With more disruptive companies entering the market (along with the young geniuses behind them), it’s becoming increasingly acknowledged that innovation can, and should, come from just about anywhere in the organization – even your customers! While your next brilliant idea won’t grow legs overnight, focusing on leveraging your culture, leadership and a robust social intranet will speed up the process and get you to that next ‘aha’ moment.

Do you want to assess your organization’s readiness for a social intranet? Download our Social Intranet Readiness Checklist to get started on the course to bottom-up innovation.