Innovation is no longer a choice, but an essential attribute for any business in order to stay ahead of the competition.
Using an agile framework helps companies adjust their policies and practices, no matter what's next. As the market changes constantly, companies, in order to get ahead, need to adapt to its demands and of their customers. Thus, a culture of innovation becomes significant for them.
“A culture of innovation is an environment that supports creative thinking and encourages its team members to generate new or improved products, services or processes,” says Rency Mathew, people leader, India and South Asia, GCC, Bengaluru, Sabre Corporation.
In an interaction with People Matters, Mathew outlines benefits of innovation culture and ways to unlock it in a team.
What are the benefits of innovation in the workplace?
- Increased competitiveness – offering higher quality products that more efficient and come at a lower cost.
- Improved staff retention – staff likes to work in jobs that promote teamwork and problem solving.
- Proactive approach to business – keeping up with changes in your industry becomes easy.
- More customers – with new or improving offerings or by entering new markets.
- More efficient use of all resources.
How do you foster a culture of innovation in your team?
- Create an environment where your team members are motivated to share their thoughts on various issues that the company is facing. Promote idea sharing, thorough discussion, and collaboration in devising solutions that you can use to respond to these challenges.
- Create programmes/challenges that encourage everyone to share their ideas. Form a committee of experts to evaluate the feasibility of every presented concept.
- Building an innovation culture includes rewarding and recognising innovative behaviour. Celebrate innovation efforts and commend innovation teams for a job well done.
- Encourage your employees to think like they own the business. This way, they get to develop a mindset that supports continuous innovation and business development.
- Encourage people across functional teams to work together within a given period. Innovation needs a group of diverse people who can provide new and unique perspectives on existing challenges.
Sabre India conducts multiple events every year that encourages team members to create cross functional teams and present business ideas or improve an existing product/process. In most of these events, ideas pitched have the potential to be production ready.
The ideas are evaluated by a panel of judges on their potential and uniqueness and the winners are given big rewards. Some of these programs are BlitzCode (A 3-day hackathon conducted every year to solve key business challenges facing the travel industry), Big Pitch (A platform where employees present business concepts to the leadership) and more.
How can we harness Gen Z's potential?
Spotting members of Generation Z is easy! Youthfulness is your first clue. Born between 1998 and 2010, Gen Z are under 21, and many are ready or will soon be ready for the job market.
Without a doubt, they are the most “connected” generation to date: their absolute ease with technology is your next clue. Approximately 98% own mobile devices, and over 90% use social media, communicating via smartphone apps such as FaceTime, Snapchat, or WhatsApp. They crowdsource their information online and through their peers.
Gen Z employees are usually independent and self-directed, and they value opportunity for growth through training and sponsored higher education. Employers that value diversity and ethics and that offer egalitarian work cultures along with growth win with them.
For Gen Z, equality is synonymous with access to information, so keep the information flowing. Since Gen Z value learning and growth, training is definitely a big deal, and tailoring your training programme to their needs will win you brownie points.