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6 Characteristics of Truly Innovative Organizations

In a previous blog post, we looked at the common characteristics of an organization operating in its ideal digital state, then taking a closer look at each of the eight mindsets, the first of which was being value-driven. The second mindset shared among organizations excelling at digital value delivery is being innovative.

Consumers expectations for businesses to be innovative are growing at a staggering rate, in fact, 84% of customers say it is somewhat or very important that the company they buy from is innovative.1 However, innovation is more than just the output of creative thinking; true business innovation requires organizations to have a cultural belief system that creates new ideas focused on impacting the overall trajectory of an organization.

Characteristics of Innovative Organizations

Organizations achieving the Innovation Mindset demonstrate the following six characteristics that help in achieving results:

  1. Clear Strategies & Measurements - Innovators align with senior leadership, providing close synchronization of organizational strategies and goals. To achieve this, strategies and measurements must be clear and provide runway to execute with clarity.
  2. Path to Production - Innovators not only have the power of creation, they also convert it into actionable activities. The challenge in achieving an Innovation Mindset stems from embracing the theoretical process, acting upon the right targets and knowing how to integrate back into the organization. This requires identifying the right people in the appropriate places to ensure ideas can mature.
  3. Autonomy - Organizations that embrace the Innovation Mindset empower individuals to make decisions that align to the mission, strategies, and goals of the enterprise. Autonomy does not mean ‘unchecked’ but rather focuses on trusting people to do the right thing in collaboration with others. In a healthy organization, innovation initiates at every level. Each level should have individuals that are given the autonomy needed to shepherd ideas through their repeatable innovation approach and strategy.
  4. Accelerated Failure Cycle - The Innovation Mindset requires individuals within the organization are empowered to act in the face of potential failure. These organizations embrace failure, which accelerates the process of pivoting to a correct implementation.
  5. Documented Innovation Strategy - An organization with an Innovation Mindset has put in place a strategic approach and process to become innovative. Mature organizations allow employees and customers to provide feedback and insight in a variety of manners, whether it is allowing employees allotted time to follow their passion, strategic workshops, or team building exercises, there is a strategic method in place to allow for innovation.
  6. Organizational Goals - An Innovation Mindset means the organization understands that innovation can come from anyone, at any level. Rather than merely assigning a team to work in a vacuum away from other departments, the organization has individuals responsible for innovation within every department. Feedback and ideas are encouraged and systematically shared across the organization.

An Innovation Mindset is not a one-time program, and it’s not a dedicated team. Instead, an innovative mindset requires a formalized innovation strategy and approach to organize it, mature it, and sustain it long term. This requires the right people are empowered with an effective strategy and approach to support it.

Stay tuned as we explore the remaining six mindsets consistent among companies operating in an ideal digital state. These organizations embody what we call the Digital Continuum, poised to shape how enterprise organizations approach digital.

Learn more and stay in the Digital Continuum loop here.