As well as presenting significant challenges, today’s ever-changing world provides frequent new opportunities – even in the post-coronavirus world. Yet many organizations are not structured to fully take advantage of them. Some may equate innovation with luck or a single “light-bulb moment” and are therefore left unprepared to take advantage of changing conditions.
Those organizations which innovate consistently often do so by managing the process like any other business activity. They apply discipline to the challenge of innovation, so it becomes systemic and integrated with every other aspect of the business.
Standards are a key tool for corporations to successfully manage innovation and survive in a fast-moving, highly complex global economy. They offer clear frameworks to help organizations create the right infrastructure for capturing and implementing ideas, understanding what works and what doesn’t, and maximizing value.
Rather than relying on luck to optimize innovation, your business can use standards to introduce a more predictable and reliable process, and build systemic innovation into day-to-day operations.
Firstly, it’s important to reframe how your business innovates. Rather than glorify the flash of genius or stroke of luck, put the focus on incremental shifts that provide sustained and measured growth.
The ISO 56000 series helps organizations introduce an innovation management system to identify the most important challenges, capture the right ideas, seize the best opportunities and properly manage emerging trends and risks. It also supports wider innovation training for staff and provides guidance on how innovation partnerships are managed, so that collaborative efforts become mutually beneficial.
Management teams could also use ISO 44001 to further support collaborative business relationships. This standard offers specific guidance around knowledge sharing and managing joint objectives to build better relationships and improve innovative results.
Your people are major source of potential creativity. The most successful organizations create a culture which emphasizes that everybody is responsible for innovation. An effective and new way of doing things can come from anyone, in any department. Staff should feel trusted and empowered to innovate.
Start by assessing your organization’s HR function to see how things could be improved. BS 76000 provides a structured approach for you to implement, monitor, evaluate and grow a people management system that meets the needs of your employees – and of your business.
Understanding how to get the best out of staff and making sure they feel valued is at the foundation of creating a supportive workplace environment where innovative ideas flourish. Here it’s also worth developing your learning and development (L&D) strategy with PD 76006. Training is a key driver of employee engagement: by investing in your L&D you’ll equip staff with the motivation and skills to consistently challenge tradition and create better ways of working.
Finally, from climate change to coronavirus, the environmental and social challenges we face today demand a completely different way of doing business. They also provide an opportunity for responsible growth that protects the planet and satisfies changing consumer needs.
By making a commitment to sustainability, you can create a larger purpose for your business and your employees that extends beyond day-to-day operations and into the wider community.
Use ISO 14001 to identify, control and monitor the impact of your organization’s environmental impact. Certification will help you become more environmentally responsive and reduce costs through better waste management and energy efficiency. ISO 50001 could also be helpful here.
Meanwhile, ISO 26000 helps facilitate sustainable development, offering a framework to understand the value of social responsibility in business management. It’s another step forward in adapting and integrating your innovation system, this time to drive sustainable outcomes.
Now more than ever, the move towards systemic innovation is essential for larger companies to navigate a world of disruption and maintain growth. Standards help bring structure, context and purpose to your organization’s innovative efforts. Let innovation sit at the heart of everything you do and enhance your ability to adapt and create in any condition.