Culture of Innovation in Engineering

Posted: January 5, 2023 by Virendra Yaduvanshi in Database Administrator
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In every oraganisation team members need to feel comfortable sharing their ideas, management needs to ensure that they feel safe and empowered.  It’s imperative to structure the culture of innovation by establishing a group that evaluates ideas, a process for submitting ideas and an incentive to submit ideas. Many organizations establish an Architectural Board, made up of leaders from different areas of the technology organisation, that provide areas to ideate in and evaluate ideas submitted by team members. The board is responsible for giving feedback to everyone that submits an idea so they understand its value to the organization and the reasons it will or will not be implemented. Constructive feedback should always be given privately while great ideas should be praised publicly.

Identifying Problem

Poor definition or direction is often the root cause of poor ideation, so make sure that the team must know about problems. we can identify problems by taking monthly/quarterly surveys with questions like:

  • What are the biggest challenges facing you or your team?
  • What keeps you up at night?
  • What is one thing you’d do differently and why?

The answers will help to identify areas for exploration. It is important to present to the teams the problem and ask them to develop the solutions.

Create Space for Innovation

Contrary to the popular idiom that necessity is the mother of invention, innovation is often stifled by necessity. Engineers are going to allocate all their time to executing the tasks they need to complete unless management creates time for them to spend exploring, ideating, and innovating. Sending people to conferences and requiring them to give presentations about what they learned and how it can be applied to the current business challenges is one way to give people time and space. Another is to simply carve out 10-15% of an engineer’s time each month to ideating on a topic or subject. we can allow them to pick their own areas or start by assigning areas for exploration.

Show Gratitude

Show people their ideas are appreciated through recognition, compensation, and action. Publicize good ideas and the people that generated them to the entire company along with recognition from leadership. This provides social esteem for individuals while providing a model for others to follow. Establish bounties for solving critical issues. A little extra money goes a long way to motivating people. Hold internal hackathons quarterly to foster healthy competition. Ask yourself what would motivate you to participate and then ask your team leaders what they think will motivate their staff.

Get Started

A simple method to kicking off this culture of innovation is by identifying a champion and working with them to develop the first idea. Then make it all their idea and start the process of demonstrating gratitude publicly and implementing the idea immediately.

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