According to recent studies by McKinsey & Company, 84% of executives believe innovation is important to their company’s growth strategy – yet a staggering 94% are dissatisfied with their own firms’ innovation performance. Although it is well-known that innovative companies outperform over time (think Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft) some of the most popular innovation strategies employed by global leaders are often met with complacency, lack of focus, and failure.
At Milkinside, they believe that although corporate policies impact the ability to drive innovation, policy alone will not solve the problem. Instead, they have developed strategies and tactics designed to overcome barriers and unlock innovation at the creative, product, and design level.
Make Room for Visionaries
Innovation strategies fail for a number of reasons, including a workplace culture of risk avoidance, the pressure of short-term quarterly results, and lack of sponsorship from top leadership. Perhaps most important, however, is that many projects are doomed by constraints before they have even left the ideation stage.
For true innovation to take place, the start of a project must not be constricted by strategy and analysis. Instead, the creative talent must be allowed to dream big, to “play” at work, and to feel that anything is possible. There will be time to focus ideas into actionable steps, but in the initial stages, freedom is paramount.
The Rational Brain and the Creative Brain
For the team at Milkinside, user experience serves a significant and necessary role in the development of any product. However, the team explains that UX should not directly influence the early stages of creative visual design. To do so can be stifling for the creative team, creating a linear design process that limits freedom of thought and expression.
How can companies successfully merge user experience with creative design?
By allowing early UX work to educate and inform others in product design. Rather than setting hard and fast rules at the early stage of development, UX can provide guidance as to the requirements of the project as well as its target users – data that can enhance the creative process.
Innovation Starts at the Top – But is Influenced by All
Although leadership often sets the tone for workplace culture, there are ways for every person within an organization to drive creativity and innovation. For the team at Milkinside, there are many small and subtle ways that team members impact the company in a positive way. For businesses that want to generate a more innovative workplace, there are particular steps they can take.
When product teams meet to communicate on new projects, it is important for everyone to have a say, and for leadership to encourage diverse perspectives. Rather than allowing only senior executives to speak, there should be healthy and spirited debate among all members of the team.
When every person has a place at the table, they feel inspired and empowered to take creative risks.
Introduce Outside Perspectives
Although businesses ultimately want to be successful, achieving success can often create an environment in which innovation is stifled. Everything that goes into building and supporting a market leading product requires operational excellence, maximum efficiency, and flawless execution. While these qualities are needed to create beautiful products, development teams must be careful about allowing success to create insular thinking.
This can be achieved by inviting new perspectives – cross-pollinating your teams with members from other teams and departments within the firm. At Milkinside, you might find a team working on a mobile phone OS finding inspiration from an auto manufacturer, or a team building a financial services app referencing a feature from a fitness tracker.
By introducing outside thinking into a project, you change the perspective, reduce insular thinking, and create greater opportunities for innovation and success.
Maximizing innovation and creativity is a key focus for many companies, but without the right strategies, it can be a difficult goal to achieve. At Milkinside, they have unlocked the right tactics to build innovation into every project – and these tactics have made all the difference.
To learn more about Milkinside’s commitment to innovation, please visit www.milkinside.com.