A Culture of Innovation: Why Every Company Needs Psychological Safety to Succeed
Innovation isn’t about technology; it is about exploring new ways to solve problems. It doesn’t have to be complicated.
Often times innovation is about simplifying and making life easier. Every company, regardless of the industry, is in the business of innovation, developing new ways to add value to its customers, but what does it take to build a culture of innovation? The answer may surprise you and revolutionize the way you do business.
According to The Deloitte Innovation Survey 2015, 66% of respondents stated that innovation is vital for growth. Innovative companies delight their customers and open new markets by meeting unmet needs. To develop new products, business teams need a diversity of perspectives; they need to see the world through the eyes of the customers. Consequently, when people don’t feel comfortable sharing their ideas, the team suffers, and the next great idea never becomes a reality.
But innovation is about more than new products or services, it is about people, especially talented people. Nobody wants to work for a company where their ideas aren’t appreciated or considered. As people, we have a deep need to express ourselves and to solve problems. When we miss the opportunity to contribute through the expression of our ideas, we lose out on meeting a fundamental need.
Too often, companies lose their most talented employees to competitors that provide the opportunity to solve problems. At the heart of innovation is a culture of psychological safety. Psychological safety is defined as a shared perspective among team members as to whether it is safe to engage in interpersonal risk-taking behaviors in the workplace. Examples of psychological safety are disagreeing with others, sharing perspectives, challenging conventional ideas, speaking up, and encouraging other people to speak up.
Building a culture of psychological safety is not merely a top-down approach. Instead, it is about the team. Yes, leadership is critical for developing psychological safety, but developing team trust and an open dialogue is equally important. In many ways, it is the responsibility of everyone in the organization.
The lessons gained in building a culture of innovation stretch beyond the workday. They are essential in building relationships and improving family dynamics. The truth is that we want everyone to feel comfortable exploring their ideas.
When we fail to encourage innovation, we lose the opportunity to live in a society vibrant with new ideas, leading to isolation and intellectual poverty.
It is easy to see that building a culture of innovation is more than just a recipe for business success; it may be the foundation of a full life.