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4 Signs Your Organization’s Culture is Ready for Rapid-Cycle Innovation

Written By: Matt Lieberson
October 6, 2020
4 min read

The need for rapid–cyle innovation is clearer than ever. In Harvard Business Review Analytic Service’s recent report on the success of a dual-track transformation approach, 80% of surveyed executives “strongly agreed” that it is essential to pair large-scale business transformation efforts with rapid-cycle innovation. To truly enable the transformation of your organization, having both approaches running concurrently will drive real success and innovation.

But even while leaders see the value in rapid-cycle innovation, the culture of an organization will dictate how well rapid-cycle innovation can permeate your organization. In fact, 45% of executives say that their business culture isn’t adaptable to change or ready for rapid-cycle innovation.

So what are the signs to look for that your business is ready, and how can you navigate to preparedness? Here are four major signs that your organization’s culture is ready for rapid-cycle innovation – and how leaders might push their business to match the leading organizations.

An IT team laser-focused on big rocks

For IT teams, it can be difficult to balance the major, critical initiatives transforming your business with the smaller, day-to-day requests from across the organization. IT cannot be everywhere –modernizing existing workflows takes time away from bigger projects, while business users are stuck waiting for their efficiency to be maximized.

IT teams can take more time on their major initiatives without having to play hall monitor for minor issues that need solving. By understanding the benefits of citizen development, IT teams can stay laser-focused on those larger, transformational projects while empowering the rest of the business to utilize rapid-cycle innovation and solve for their own challenges.

A business operations team eager to innovate

At the same time, while IT has its eyes on those major organizational initiatives, business operations professionals are on the ground with the best understanding of exactly what problems have to be solved. And since they have the deepest understanding of the systems, projects, and processes they operate with on a day-to-day basis, they are best equipped to solve for the more targeted improvements impacting their work.

A successful operations team should feel invested in solving for its own challenges. To create an optimal environment for rapid-cycle innovation, operations should feel empowered to improve its own processes. Giving business operations teams the tools to make the changes they feel they need to make, without needing the same in-depth technical knowledge as IT teams, will allow them to create solutions on the fly and build a shared sense of responsibility in improving business processes.

A spirit of collaboration

An organization that wants to unite around these two team’s needs has to have a groundwork of collaboration first. Siloed teams who exclusively focus on their own projects will make it difficult for organizations to generate that important shared accountability for improving processes across the business.

Leaders need to make sure their teams are willing and excited to work cross-functionally to innovate and solve key business problems. In fact, 52% of surveyed executives said that a primary benefit of a low-code application building tool for impacting distributed innovation would be to encourage business professionals to get more involved in innovation. So by giving your teams the toolset to make these changes, and hammering home the value of everyone across the organization working to innovate, leaders can lay out the expectation of collaboration and break down walls between teams.

A forward-looking organization craving agility

Finally, as organizations evolve to match the increasing speed of business, leaders should be prepared to shift on the fly. As we’ve seen, business conditions can change in an instant from any number of external factors. To stay prepared and equipped for rapid change, organizations need to be agile and ready for anything.

Top organizations are already embracing operational agility in order to keep customers satisfied, effectively activate important data, and respond to increased competition. To take on the competitive business landscape and the ever-changing world, organizations have to seek out more agile models of business to keep pace with leading organizations.

With business culture posing a roadblock to organizations seeking the ability to rapidly innovate and improve, now is a perfect time for leaders to check in on their organizations and see what shifts are important to be ready to innovate. By building a culture ready for innovation and to become more agile, organizations can be as prepared as possible to face the myriad of challenges ahead.

Matt Lieberson
Written By: Matt Lieberson

Matt Lieberson is a Content Marketing Manager at Quickbase.

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