5 Ways to Bake Innovation into Your Culture

donutsHave you ever stayed in a hotel and found yourself looking for places to work outside your room? During your search, did you notice empty conference rooms and banquet spaces?

Peggy Fang Roe, a corporate executive at Marriott, noticed both these things – that hotel guests often walked around the hotel searching for quiet places to work, and that the hotel’s banquet rooms were often vacant during the day.

Roe’s observations led to a partnership between Marriott and LiquidSpace, an online platform that connects people to flexible workspaces by the hour or the day. Roe’s company is now experimenting with this partnership in 40 of their hotels. 

Roe saw a need – hotel need hotel spaces to work – and she coupled it with a solution – empty hotel banquet rooms. She converted the need and the solution into an opportunity by partnering with a company that could readily scale a connection between the two.

Product designers talk about ways they “bake” certain features into a product (like security or advertising). Their goal is to make the features a seamless part of the user experience. With that in mind, how can we “bake” innovation into the culture of our organizations?

Here are four ways:

  1. Prioritize it. What are you willing to let go of, in order to make it the focus? You can’t do it all.
  2. Communicate it. Talk about it. Write about it. Share articles on it.
  3. Visualize it. Set up an organization Pinterest board or other online space and share images and videos.
  4. Recognize it. Provide positive feedback and showcase innovators.
  5. Fun it. Make it a game. Encourage creativity. Create urgency.

How do you “bake” innovation into your culture?