Struggling to embed a culture of innovation? You're not alone. . .

As big companies are increasingly having to navigate the rapid onslaught of new ideas and disruptive challenger businesses - shifting culture to allow forgreater agility is becoming essential to survival.

The big vision - large companies changing their ways to adapt and innovate as fast as the market - has gained great momentum. But in practice, for the majority of organisations, things aren't really budging. 

Here's our insight on why it's so tough and what individuals and teams can do to make a start at getting things moving. 


Wasn’t Design Thinking meant to change everything?

Anyone interested in people-centred innovation will have spent time getting to grips with design thinking in recent years. It's a great methodology, successfully driving innovation that can really make a difference to customers’ lives. 

All too often however, we hear that people are struggling to take the methodology further into their organisation. To take it away from agency workshops and bring real benefits to their team or their business on a consistent basis. 


Because although a popular visual representation of Design Thinking looks like this: 

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In reality the methodology looks a great deal more like this:



You’ll find the same thing to be true of any great innovation methodologies - from to Blue Ocean to Google Design Sprints to Lean Startup - even Agile.

These are all inspiring methodologies - each of them have been groundbreaking in some way. But in the context of a large organisation and an established culture, it's very difficult to know where to start.

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Are you frustrated by a lack of willingness to engage or adopt new methodologies. That people ‘just aren't getting it'?

We know how hard it is. Implementing any of these requires much more than a change in process and approach. It requires a change in culture.

If you'd like to learn more about how we help teams move forward and seed a change in culture for the long term, you can get in touch here.

Our approach: Take it one small step at a time.

Find ways to introduce new ideas that create the least friction.

Find a behaviour or habit that already exists and just one thing you can do to initiate a small change. Can you find a time that already exists within every week, or even every month, when your team are all in the same room? How could you use this time to try out new things? In an environment where people don’t feel they are being asked to give up extra time they simply don’t have, to try out something new.

We love IDEO-inspired brainstorming sessions as a starting point. 

Brainstorming is not just about finding new ideas. It introduces people to really positive collaboration. To the idea of taking risks - by creating a safe space for people to take the smallest of risks by simply openly voicing ideas and accepting that ‘no idea is a bad one’.

Set a focus for your sessions that helps you to showcase the value of a new way of working or thinking. Build it into a really manageable objective to explore something together over a set number of weeks. Looking at customer pain-points? Considering potential ‘Blue Ocean’ moves? Potential strategic startup partnerships and how to set them up for success? The potential opportunities in embracing new technologies?

IDEO recommend a set of rules to get the best out of a group. These are simple and easy to follow and help support great collaboration.

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A final thought - can you show people the value?

The best way to really get people on board and change behaviour is to show them the value of a new idea. Find ways to sow people small victories. Tangible results that give them reason to believe in innovation methodologies and new ways of working. 

Continuing with our brainstorming example - if you set the objective to improve something internally, then your people will be the direct beneficiaries. Find small internal objectives - anything from ‘how might we better offer feedback within our team’ to ‘how could we benefit from collaborating with other teams or departments’. 

Source the objective from within the team. Find something they really care about. What’s getting under their skin that could be changed? What’s keeping them up at night? 

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Imo is a partner at Think Plan Thrive, a London based Strategy company. We help organisations seize opportunity. Execute and grow, fast. We’re passionate about supporting individuals and teams in big companies to drive change faster. In a way that's less risky and drives positive cultural change too. 

Contact us.

We love a chat. Ask us questions. Let us buy you coffee. We want to hear what keeps you up at night, we might just be able to help.


Call us on +44 (0)207 193 7924

Ask us anything. Book a free consult.

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