If we think about the metaphor of flying a plane, we can all agree that there are some major headwinds tossing and shaking the plane around at the altitude of business right now. And yet, as Peter Drucker said, “The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is acting with yesterday’s logic.”
Often the best solution in severe turbulence is not to ground the plane or fly around in repetitive circles but instead shift the course to rise above it.
The word for 'crisis' in Japanese, 危機 (Kiki) is written with the words 'danger' and 'opportunity,' meaning that a crisis can be seen as a dangerous time but equally as a time for opportunity.
And this is certainly an unprecedented and historical time of opportunity for innovating, trying new things, thinking outside the box, and driving the growth of your organization.
Data Points Supporting the Business Case for Innovation
- Revenue Growth: According to a study by the Boston Consulting Group, companies that actively invest in innovation achieve 2.6 times higher revenue growth compared to those that do not.
- More Jobs: Innovative companies tend to create more job opportunities. The Global Innovation Index 2020 found that high-income countries with a strong innovation ecosystem experienced higher employment growth compared to countries with lower innovation performance.
- Higher Productivity: Innovation often leads to improvements in productivity, which drives overall economic growth. A report by the McKinsey Global Institute revealed that advanced economies with higher levels of digitization and innovation had approximately 2% higher annual productivity growth.
- Competitive Advantage: A survey conducted by PwC found that 61% of CEOs believe that innovation is a key factor in gaining a competitive advantage in their industry.
Strategies to Encourage Innovation Within Your Team
As leaders, you are the champions for innovation in your organizations. Ask yourself, are you using any of the strategies below to encourage innovation with your teams?
- Foster a culture of innovation by creating an environment that encourages creativity, risk-taking, and experimentation. Empower your employees to suggest new ideas and challenge existing norms.
- Articulate a clear vision and goals that align with the organization's growth objectives. This provides a sense of direction and purpose for your innovation efforts. Communicate the vision and goals regularly to inspire and motivate employees.
- Allocate dedicated resources for innovation including time, budget, and talent. Create innovation teams or departments, invest in research and development, or partner with external organizations to leverage expertise and technology.
- Encourage collaboration and diversity. Innovation thrives when diverse perspectives and expertise come together. Encourage collaboration across teams, departments, and even external stakeholders. Organize brainstorming sessions and promote knowledge-sharing to spark innovative ideas.
- Empower and support employees to take ownership of their ideas and provide them with the necessary tools, training, and support to bring those ideas to life. Encourage autonomy, provide mentorship, and recognize and reward innovative efforts and outcomes.
- Embrace technology and data to stay ahead of emerging technologies and trends. Use technology and data analytics to identify market opportunities, understand customer needs, and make informed decisions to improve product development, processes, and customer engagement.
- Learn from failures. Innovation involves experimentation, and failures are inevitable along the way. Leaders should create a safe environment where failure is seen as a learning opportunity.
Remember that driving growth through innovation is an ongoing process. The goal is to stay agile and embody the spirit of innovation yourself as a leader. If you can stay curious and open-minded, there is no doubt you’ll have many success stories to share in your own organization as you navigate through the ever-changing business headwinds.
For even more tips on current trends and opportunities for innovation through growth, be sure to check out the research and thought leadership in our 2023 Talent Magazine.