Change is inevitable in today’s world of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA) and as Charles Darwin once said, “It is not the strongest of the species which survive nor the most intelligent, but the species most responsive to change.” In today’s scenario no organisation can island itself from the external forces and therefore, innovative culture not only a ‘good to have but an ‘imperative to survive’.

While innovation remains the most talked aspect in all the organisations, but at the same time it is the organisation itself that remains the biggest bottleneck for ‘change’. While we read a lot about fostering innovative culture, but for me there are following two simple dimensions (may not be mutually exclusive) which are critical to succeed:

First dimension towards fostering culture of innovation is the clarity of ‘purpose’ and ‘vision’ for the organisation:

  1. Clarity of purpose engages and inspires investment into new ideas and that too for reasons beyond traditional corporate metrics. It also develops an ecosystem within or outside the organisation’s boundaries
  2. Clarity of vision sets the path for innovation towards a common goal addressing the changing market/ customer realities. However, vision that fosters innovation should not only be challenging but at the same time clear to the stakeholders.

Second dimension remains the inherent traits of the leadership team in terms of:

  1. Ability to take risk, decision-making and inclusion
  1. Ability to obtain relevant knowledge (data) and capability to analyse the same for the context

To ensure successful and sustainable execution of any innovative initiatives, I believe it should address all the three pillars of business together (and not any one or two) which are People (Talent), Process, and Product. Any innovation that does not cover all the three, can at best be a great idea or an incremental initiative.

Lastly, there are many metrics available to measure the success of innovation, but to me whatever they mean in mathematical terms, innovation should improve Trust (amongst team), Turnaround Time (efficiency and productivity) and Transparency (scalability). These may be measured based upon the context and the relevant stakeholder being addressed.

The availability of knowledge and technology around has enabled a DNA of creativity and innovation. The leadership challenge lies in channelising the same towards the purpose and vision of the organisation.

Vineet Chattree

Director, Svatantra Microfin Pvt. Ltd. | Managing Director, Svatantra Micro Housing Finance Corporation Ltd.