Innovation looks good on paper, but few established organizations are able to make it happen in practice. When I interviewed Digital Royalty’s founder Amy Jo Martin, the bestselling author of Renegades Write the Rules, she explained why the effort pays off.
Alex: Companies talk a good game about being innovative, but few actually make it happen. Why do you think this is?
Amy Jo: Because it’s hard work. It’s extra work. It takes more time and energy to think differently, test new ideas, try to sell them to everyone involved and stand your ground against the non-believers. Swimming in the sea of sameness appears to be safer and easier than dipping your toes in uncharted, choppy waters. Anytime we innovate, adversity follows. With adversity comes tension and people tend to avoid conflict. In reality, tension equals growth. You’re much more likely to drown in the sea of sameness than get eaten by a shark while navigating through new waters.
Alex: What’s the business case for an innovative culture? How should we convince the higher-ups to take the risk?
Amy Jo: When employees feel appreciated, happy and safe they are more loyal, engaged, and productive. They care more about the company. They perform better. All of this is directly related to profitability.
Experimenting is key. It’s important to experiment and fail early so by the time everyone else catches up, you’re already polishing up your knowledge. Progress is related to innovation. When we strive to innovate, we feel a sense of progress and perceived progress is one of the three ingredients of employee happiness.
For the rest of Amy Jo's interview, have a look at Intuit's Fast Track blog.