Imagine that you were the innovation guru in an agile and innovative organization. Would be pretty neat, right? But where to start if you have little to no clue about organizational innovation? Or if you feel like you lack the practical tools to carry through on what you already know? Fret not! The Ideanote guide to organizational innovation is here to help you.

At Ideanote we spend a lot of our time thinking, writing, reading, talking and dreaming about innovation and ideation. We thought that it would be a shame not to share all this knowledge with you. So here goes – the Ideanote guide to organizational innovation, giving you valuable, inspirational and actionable content.

If we have missed your favorite piece of content on this subject, please reach out and let us know. The guide on how to innovate is continuously updated with new links and subjects, so be sure to check in regularly.

Powerful innovation enablers

This section features valuable sources for learning of innovation types, organizations and the importance of culture.

Innovation 101

Innovation comes in many shapes and forms. Below you will find resources that will help you understand the differences and interplay of the different kinds of innovation.

Remember, it’s not always about committing to one type or the other – often it’s about letting the different approaches work together. The trick is to know when to do what.

  1. Let’s start with the basics: What is innovation and how does it differ from invention? Give this brief piece a read if you need a brush-up on your innovation trivia.

  2. Longing for a more ideological definition of innovation? Well, you are in luck, because this piece, gives 15 of the most prominent innovation experts’ view on just what innovation really is.

  3. You are only in the very beginning of this post, so fair game if you don’t feel like an innovation expert, just yet – however if you wanna sound like one, head over here.

  4. A small and handy dictionary of commonly used terms and concepts in organizational innovation. Useful if a lot of the terms thrown around here sound like a foreign language to you.

  5. Set your theory-based innovation records straight and learn more about 15 theories that are insanely useful in real-life here.

  6. When innovating, you don’t always have to invent the new iPhone. This piece offers you a nice matrix of when to expect what from your innovation activities.

  7. Why radical innovations are so rare and what you should make of that- get in the know here.

  8. What is the connection between strategy and innovation and how should you expect the two to correlate? Not sure yet? Give this piece a read for inspiration.

What is the best innovation setup for your project?

  1. This Harvard Business Review article tackles the conundrum of open innovation and why it is facing obstacles.

10.Here, four experts discuss the potential trade-off related to open innovation activities. Give it a read if you are looking for the concept discussed in more detail.

  1. Design thinking is more than a buzzword (and not a way to say that you should be thinking about design). But what is it then and how does it work?

  2. An all-time favourite of ours, employee innovation and its characteristics is explained in this short and sweet 5 min. read.

  3. Many people think that customers hold the key to the next big thing, and rightly so. But what is customer innovation? Deloitte weighs in on this, in this post.

Why you should pay close attention to culture

It doesn’t take many Google searches to understand that culture has a major impact on innovation. Below, you will find tips and tricks to recognize and create an innovative culture.

  1. The connection between innovation and culture. This great piece gives you a brief introduction to the importance of culture in fostering innovation in organizations.

  2. Here, company culture and innovation success are tied together, treating both terms less like buzzwords and more like serious business.

  3. So what does agility have to do with innovation culture? This post introduces continuous learning and innovation in an agile culture.

  4. A big part of being innovative is to not only accept but also learn from your mistakes. So take a page from the entrepreneur’s playbook and fail fast.

  5. The dreaded and much discussed not invented here (NIH) syndrome did not become so widely talked about for nothing. Learn more about the state of NIH anno 2017 here.

  6. Diversity in teams and networks are one of the main drivers in an innovative culture. This piece by innovation expert Ralph-Christian Ohr will teach you about just that.

  7. An interesting study on how diversity in the workforce affects innovation.

  8. If only the key to creating an innovative culture would lie within hiring a diversified workforce and then just lean back and wait for innovation to happen. It is not quite as simple though. This articlediscusses the impact of age diversity and other organizational factors on innovation.

  9. And lastly, a critical view of diversity’s impact on innovation can be found here.

Gearing your organization for innovation

So what does an organization look like when it’s calibrated for impactful innovation? The answer to that question is by no means one size fits all. The important thing is that it matches the individual characteristics of your company. Below you can find links that can inspire you to set up the optimal organizational structure for innovation.

  1. The impact of hierarchy and organizational setup on innovation efforts is discussed in this brilliant piece.

  2. Structural constraints. Even the sound of this, makes us at Ideanote shiver with fear. Learn more about it in this short video.

  3. The issue with integrating innovation labs into the core of your business is discussed in this quick read.

  4. Way too many innovation labs end up being an insignificant appendix to the core organization where nobody really knows what’s going on, apart from the fact that it involves table tennis and not wearing shoes. How do you avoid that? Head over here for inspiration on the matter.

  5. How do you tackle the stereotypes of creatives and non-creatives and how do you build organizations that get the best from both worlds? This piece discusses just that. Maybe the two types are not as different as they seem?

  6. The synergies and potential clashes of individual and organizational creativity are discussed here.

  7. What happens if we turn toward innovating on the very organizational structure itself? This long and in-depth report, outlines five significant and emerging trends in organizational innovation that we could all benefit from keeping in mind.

Effective innovation processes

By now, you should feel like you have a good understanding of what innovation is all about. So let’s instead try to understand how we can best employ processes and tools that foster successful organizational innovation.

Processes that make you succeed

  1. Having underscored the importance of both culture and people, if neither are present, then where do you start? This piece offers some advice as to how to initiate an innovative company.

  2. Should innovation be structured or does that actually harm creative thinking? Get the answer here.

  3. This article offers you 4 actionable steps you can take to introduce a more innovative culture in your organization.

  4. By now, I’m sure you know that you don’t become innovative by going into the woods once every second year, to connect with your team in some obscure group activity. Rather innovation should be part of your every day – give this a read for 9 actionable tips for daily innovation.

  5. This article presents you with ways to create an innovative culture which is easier said than done, but paramount for your success.

  6. Here, you are presented with eight actionable ways to create an innovative culture. Now. Today. Before lunch.

  7. Going above and beyond the sticky note in your innovation processes is something that we all would like – but how? This piece gives you some insight on how to do just that.

  8. So maybe you don’t use sticky-notes – but how advanced is your innovation really, if you have to be brutally honest? Head over here for a reality check.

  9. Pairing design thinking and lean startup processes could be your magic key to success, according to this great read.

  10. This post weighs in on how to end two major obstacles to innovation: the vicious circle of fear and idea assassination.

  11. Planning a large scale new innovation project? Head over to this very comprehensive and in-depth guide on how to structure a successful innovation project.

  12. And here is what not to do when engaging in corporate innovation.

Exercises for your team

From time to time, engaging your team or entire organization in workshops or events that help spark the creative innovative powers that lie within them can be super powerful. The links below serve as an inspiration to what such events could look like and also gives you tools to evaluate your own innovation capabilities.

  1. Turning the attention inwards can have a major effect on the way you innovate. This post outlines the traits of great transformative managers. How many of these traits do you see in yourself?

  2. Now that we are talking about you, how do you keep track of all your own personal ideas? Head over to this place to get more knowledge on personal innovation.

  3. Understand how you can have more success with presenting your ideas to management by adopting some of these nifty tricks.

  4. Engage your team in one of these simple, fun and valuable innovation games.

  5. Want a way to start off meetings in an innovative spirit? Head over to this ingenious 3-minute team lead hack.

  6. 27 exercises to spark and initiate innovation and creative thinking can be found here.

Digital tools for your innovation toolbox?

In our wonderful and digital world, there are plenty of tools that allow you to innovate. Below, we discover some of them.

  1. Not sure you even need a tool for your innovation efforts? Head over to this piece to get in the know.

  2. Need a tool for prototyping your new innovation? Board of Innovation has you covered with these 10 digital prototyping tools.

  3. By now, we know that innovation is also something that happens on an individual level, and mind mapping is a powerful way to do this successfully. Head over to this page for a comparison of the best personal idea tools out there.

  4. In Ideanote, we believe that innovation and ideas come from everywhere: your team, frontline workers, customers, etc. That’s why we have created this simple and intuitive tool to help you collect, structure and enhance ideas. Check it out here.

  5. After gathering and working with ideas, find a tool where you can track the project. Head over to this link for examples of innovative and user-friendly innovation tools.

  6. Manage your innovation team and time more wisely. Check out Time Doctor, a tool that will help you increase productivity by 22%.

The impact and why you should bother

So why is innovation worth pursuing and what happens when you get really, really good at it? This is what the sources below reveal, giving you examples of the impact that innovation can have on your organization.

  1. The innovation journey of Lego is scrutinized in this great read.

  2. An oldie but goldie, this OECD report takes you through the basics of innovation and economic growth.

  3. This theory-founded piece, gives you an in-depth analysis of the link between a country’s innovation activity and economic growth per capita (full article requires login).

  4. Innovating the future of innovation – what does that look like? And how can we get the most of it? Learn more about “the new innovation era” here.

  5. While you are checking out Paul’s blog, you should also head over to this piece to get his view on the most impactful points on how to innovate.

  6. Feel like trying to rate your own innovation outcomes? This framework can point you to ways of evaluating your own efforts.

Do you feel ready to start innovating better? Try out our Idea Management platform for free today here!

If you are hungry for more, you can also dive into a few similar articles: What is Idea Management and Why is it Important? and Innovation Hacks That Will Make You Say, “Wish I’d Thought of That”.