9 Ways To Create A More Innovative Culture
[Inspired by accountants!?]
How might you create a more innovative culture?
Utilize the Situational Outlook Questionnaire (SOQ).
The SOQ is a poorly named but very practical tool for taking a quick pulse of the inner work environment, climate or culture or a team or organization.
More than 50 years of research has led to the identification of 9 dimensions that leaders wanting to foster greater creativity and innovation can grab hold of and shift.
A lack of organic growth, competitive pressures and a desire to find new ways to add value to customer’s lives triggers the search for new and better ways to foster innovation.
However, creating a more innovative culture, especially if the organization has been around for a while, is no easy feat.
One way to start to get a handle on the current situation and make real change happen is by utilizing a proven assessment tool and framework. The SOQ provides the hard numbers and qualitative data to quickly make sense of the current work environment. The framework provides the language and focus needed to fuel productive conversations and change management activities.
Below is a spider diagram that defines the 9 Dimensions of a Creative and Innovative Work Climate measured by the SOQ. I led a workshop with a group of accountants interested in innovation. I had the group rate their current work environment on each of the 9 dimensions using colored dots. This led to a fruitful conversation and the identification of their top priority dimension and key behaviors to focus on improving.
Each dimension reflects a set of behaviors that influence the amount of creativity, innovation and general performance within an organization or team. Each dimension can be thought of as a lever to be adjusted up or down based on what is needed and what is appropriate for the business.
Map Your Climate On 9 Proven Dimensions
Here is a brief description of the 9 dimensions:
Challenge/Involvement – degree to which people are involved/engaged in daily operations and long-term vision
Freedom – autonomy, independence given in daily roles and tasks
Trust/Openness – people can be open with each other, express feelings, share ideas and not feel they may be stolen
Idea-time – time people can and do use for developing new ideas
Playfulness/Humor – spontaneity and ease displayed in the workplace, people can have fun (professional, but relaxed)
Conflict – personal tension – I don’t like you, therefore I don’t like your idea – lots of politics (You want less of this dimension!)
Idea-support – ideas received positively and supported by management and colleagues
Debate – tension about an idea – productive sharing of a diversity of perspectives
Risk-taking – tolerance of uncertainty and ambiguity in the workplace, initiative encouraged – people feel they can take a risk and won’t be punished if things fail
Note: Situational Outlook Questionnaire (SOQ) and 9 Dimensions Copyright of Creative Problem Solving Group Inc.
Draw a grid and engage your team in an exercise to map your team or organization’s climate based on the 9 dimensions. Identify areas to improve and choose one area to focus on.
If you want more information about the SOQ assessment and consulting options please contact me.
“Brent Schmidt at Strategic Fuel gave an informative and enlightening presentation at a recent Halton Peel CA Association event. I myself and many attendees got a lot to take away from the event. I personally saw efficiency improvements in my team and a more enjoyable, open and creative atmosphere in the office.
Brent’s approach is a way for organizations of all sizes and dynamics to analyze their corporate climate and culture in depth, while offering proven strategic solutions for enhancements in an organization, resulting in creativity and a cohesive environment to remain competitive and grow profitability. During the presentation, Brent offered the ability to allow me to critically analyze my company’s corporate climate to identify where we could better the internal environment. As a result, our professionals have been stimulated, thinking more creatively as to our internal processes function – increasing efficiency and project profitability.
I recommend to all leaders – supervisors, management and executives to make the time to meet with Brent. You will see the results for yourself.”
Andrew Brydon, CPA, CA
Senior – Assurance & Advisory, Financial Institutions at Deloitte (with another firm at the time of the workshop)