Using Communication to Drive Innovation

“Innovate or die” is a popular saying, and for good reason. In today’s rapidly changing digital landscape, companies who don’t innovate will get left in the dust. While all companies can’t be as agile as startups, they can still foster an innovative culture that is embodied by every employee. The following 5 communication strategies will enable you to drive innovation among your team, no matter how big or small.

1. Communicate the company strategy

As a leader, it is your job to consistently share the company’s strategies, goals and vision, as well as convey how each and every employee makes a meaningful impact on the company’s success. In order to drive an innovative culture, you have to fold innovation into those company strategies and ensure your employees are in the know. By getting everyone on the same page in terms of where the company is and where it can go, you can inspire employees to make their mark.

2. Be transparent about success and failures

Everyone loves celebrating great accomplishments and successes, but it’s just as important to celebrate the lessons learned from failures. Both individual teams and leadership should take time to reflect on past successes and failures and the opportunities to come.

drive innovation

How to Drive Innovation Through Communication

Celebrating both sides of the coin gives employees the confidence they need to try new innovative ideas, rather than shy away for fear of negative repercussions. On top of this, discussing the lessons learned from past failures can also lead to the next big breakthrough.

Throughout this process, communication from leadership has to be transparent. Be open and honest with employees about both the challenges and the opportunities ahead. Rather than sugarcoating the facts, be candid. Earning your employees trust will only further encourage a culture of innovation.

3. Be consistent across internal and external communications

You’ve clearly communicated the importance of innovation internally and grounded it in real corporate strategies, but do your external communications echo what you’ve told employees? When employees are being told one thing by leadership but something different is going out to the public, it puts your company’s integrity at risk in the eyes of your employees. This breaks down the trust and transparency that is so crucial to fostering a highly innovative culture. So if innovation is a top priority, make sure that comes through in marketing and PR initiatives.

4. Facilitate team communication

For teams to successfully innovate together, they need to be great communicators who can collaborate efficiently, provide constructive feedback, and work through tough problems. You can help encourage this by improving your employees’ communication skills and providing the right technology. Communication workshops are a great way for employees to brush up on their skills and see things in a new light. Communication technology such as video conferencing, instant messaging, and live collaboration allow employees to work together seamlessly, regardless of their location.

5. Listen to Employees

Good communicators are also good listeners. As part of your innovation strategy, you should regularly encourage employees to give feedback. Tapping into employees’ ideas and surfacing those to leadership proves your commitment to innovation as well as encourages employees to make innovation a core part of their job. Who knows, you may have the next Ken Kutaragi among your staff.

Continue learning about communication: 4 Ways to Improve Team Communication for Business Success

ABOUT Kristen Wells

Kristen is the senior manager of corporate communications at PTC and editor of Field Service Digital. She is passionate about elevating the stories of women in field service and improving communication between the field and the office. Prior to ServiceMax, Kristen held content marketing roles at startups such as Zinc and cielo24. Kristen holds a B.A. in Communication with an emphasis on Professional Writing from the University of California, Santa Barbara.