This October, The Bakery was invited to speak at South Summit in Madrid on the topic of corporate innovation. Co-Founder Andrew Humphries explained to a packed audience of both corporates and start-ups that there is more to corporate innovation than a marketing KPI (and it’s also not just frippery) — it’s vital to the survival of your company. If done properly, companies should expect big things — to be a leader in their industry or even a pioneer.
Corporate innovation is one the most widely discussed topics at tech events: how companies are implementing it, their results, and how they are profiting from it. But the question is, what is it that truly makes for a good innovation programme, and how can companies create the right environment internally for long-term impact? The two most vital focal points for your efforts: corporate culture and objectives.
Also speaking at the event was the world famous TED speaker Sir Ken Robinson, talking about the current state of education. We often forget that innovation is a learned skill, and to create a truly innovative company you will need brilliant teachers. To this end, South Summit integrated thought provoking discussions around learning how to learn, teaching, understanding what it means to be creative and curious, and the role that education plays within building a healthy company.
There are very few things that set us apart from other living beings on this planet — imagination being one of them. Imagination is to have the ability to bring into one’s mind things that aren’t yet real or present. Creativity, or applied imagination, goes one step further as the execution phase, and innovation is putting all of this into practice.
So where are we going with this? Well, the only companies that are continually innovative and successful are the ones who have a constant flow of these imaginative ideas — i.e. your innovation culture. Or they are companies that seek solutions elsewhere, they embrace ideas that we at The Bakery actively preach — No one has all the best talent, and someone, somewhere, has probably either solved or is currently working to solve your current problem.
Some well-known examples of companies that did not embrace this ideology being Kodak and Blockbuster, once powerhouse corporations during the golden ages of film. By overlooking the importance of innovation each eventually became irrelevant. Kodak, who bet on film, got replaced by each smartphone and tablet housing a camera, and photo publishing to the virtual albums like Instagram and Pinterest. Blockbuster, who likewise placed its bets on film and DVDs (physical entities) has long been replaced by streaming giants like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and PPV. Like Andreessen said, “software is eating the world”.
Knowing that creativity is vital to innovation, how does a company create this culture? As Sir Ken Robinson explained, ‘believing you’re not creative is a myth, it is merely a muscle that needs to be exercised. As is the case with many cultural skills, creativity is often taught, and everyone has the capacity to become creative. And who better to lead these exercise classes than the leaders?
Creativity needs to be so intertwined in one’s culture that it becomes second nature. This is achieved through;
Company-wide conversations about innovation and creativity