Source | LinkedIn : By Sridhar R
Last week I had a call from a friend. He is an independent director in a few organisations – some of them well known.
Apparently this question “Why are we not as innovative as we want to be?” came up in a board meeting of one of the companies. The board came to a conclusion that lack of ‘an innovation culture’ could be one big reason. How bad was the situation? The CHRO suggested an employee survey to find out the company’s current status on innovation culture.
My friend wanted to show me the survey proposal and find out what I thought of it. The proposal was to conduct an online survey in all locations across the country, open to all the staff.
When we met, he showed me the plan. I was quite impressed by the survey design.
“What do you think? Will this help?”
“Maybe. But there is a simpler way to find out about the innovation culture of that company.”
“Simpler? Do you mean a less detailed survey?”
“You don’t need to do a survey for this.”
“Then how will we find out about the innovation culture of the company?”
“Have a conversation with the CEO. Go to him with a bold idea to accelerate the company’s growth. Something that can help it garner a much bigger share of the market. Something they have never tried. Something even his competitors have not tried. And see how he responds.”
“How will that help?”
“If he is uncomfortable and gives you a lot of reasons why this won’t work, then chances are the company will not support an innovation culture. You have a play -safe, risk-averse CEO. His people know that he would never approve anything new or bold. He would be comfortable with ‘incremental innovation’ ideas. That will define the innovation culture. Good people who find this culture stifling will leave.”