3 Key Ingredients to Drive an Innovative Culture

As part of our recent event, Innovate & Elevate: Amplifying a culture of innovation, we interviewed Liga Magdalenoka-Keen, Director of International Insights at Scientific Games, and a seasoned client-side R&D FMCG leader.

In this insightful interview, Liga talks about how innovation is a mindset or lifestyle and she offers three key ingredients to drive a culture of innovation within organisations.  She also suggests tips to drive innovation forward with success.

I believe a culture of innovation can be viewed as a mindset or lifestyle. The saying ‘it ain’t broke, so don’t fix it’, hasn’t served me well and I think it is counterproductive – I don’t think this works in the long term. Innovation is key and culture significantly influences how easy or difficult it is to implement innovation. Innovation is not a sporadic event but rather a continuous process that evolves over time – it’s an ongoing process that happens every minute of every day.

What do you think are the 3 most important ingredients of an innovation culture?

Mutual trust: I think this is the most important ingredient, it is essential for collaboration and support, especially from senior management and your line manager. It’s crucial to be able to lean into that support whenever you need it and to be actively encouraged.

Reward innovation: I find it works if you value innovation for its own sake, not just for financial gains or cost savings. It’s important to reward people for being innovative.

Autonomy and freedom: Individuals need the freedom to use their strengths and time effectively. This links back to trust, to be innovative you need to feel free to use your strengths in the best possible way.

What tips would you give for driving innovation in large organisations?

Find an ally: In reality, innovation is not a one-person job, it never is, no matter how brilliant you are. You need to secure support from a like-minded senior leader to boost confidence and backing for innovation. When you have found this person, you will feel more confident to go for it.

How can research and data be effectively used to influence and gain support from stakeholders within a company’s ecosystem?

For me, there is one formula that works every single time without fail, and that’s about setting a precedent. There will always be issues or something to solve in business. I suggest that you start small with cost-effective research on a relevant business issue (as a rule of thumb you won’t get a massive budget to start with). Then communicate your findings in a way that is accessible and resonates with stakeholders. Engaging your stakeholders is crucial, communicate your findings clearly using their terminology and make sure it is relevant to them.

In my experience, this approach can really spark interest, and initiate further innovation discussions within your company (they may be curios to learn more, or they may want to prove you wrong!). Either way, the innovation process has then started, and the ball is rolling.

Overall, Liga emphasises the importance of trust, freedom, and effective communication in fostering a culture of continuous innovation.

This is the second in a three-part series of interviews with the speakers of The Campaign for Real Innovation event.  The first of the series is ‘Cultivating a Culture of Innovation’, featuring Ben Diamant, an accomplished inventor and Head of Design and Product Mangement at CMD Ltd. Stay tuned for the 3rd and final interview featuring Karen Schofield, which will be released shortly.

If you have any questions or if you’d like to discuss anything further, please reach out to [email protected].

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