Five Tips to Ensure Innovation Thrives in your Organization

There is one thing that every successful startup or business has in common – an innovative idea.

KAUST Innovation’s Entrepreneur Center has a successful track record in developing and launching accelerator programs that develop these ideas such as Hikma and the New Ventures Accelerator programs, as well as corporate innovation programs such as REVelate, which will be held from April 19-21, 2016.  You can apply for REVelate here.

These programs cultivate a culture of entrepreneurship, innovation and calculated risk taking and have started to be recognized regionally and internationally for their value.

Through my experience in running these programs and collaborating with inventors, entrepreneurs, and leaders on a regular basis, I have five tips that can help ensure innovation is championed in your organization on a daily basis.

Collaborating for Innovation

It is important to be open and transparent and to promote collaborative discussion within your organization. This can help overcome silos and promote new ideas.

By creating an organization where employees feel empowered to ask challenging questions, engage in positive risk taking, and seek out fresh perspectives and ideas on a daily basis, you are creating the conditions for serendipity and innovation to occur.

Understanding the Market with Design Thinking

Design thinking, which is a core element in KAUST’s corporate innovation and accelerator programs, gives entrepreneurs the tools and methods for empathizing with customers to truly understand their needs. It involves engaging with people from a broad range of backgrounds to create new products, services and transform business processes.

This focus on the end-user helps avoid the all too common problem of innovators executing on ideas that do not fit the client’s needs and ensures that solutions are rooted in the needs and desires of the community at large.

Championing Education

The ability to expand your mind and continuously learn is important to the long-term planning of any organization. It is important to allow your entire workforce to benefit from knowledge sharing, seminars and informal discussions if you expect them to continuously develop new ideas that are valuable to the organization. At KAUST, we provide a number of educational offerings that help promote the entrepreneurial mindset to the entire KAUST ecosystem.

Reusing, Recycling and Repurposing

Resources are precious, especially in the science and technology sector where there is competition globally to recruit the best and brightest. With such competition for talent, it comes important to make do with the resources you have and to reuse, recycle and repurpose. Work should always focus on outcomes and not be overly prescriptive.

Learning from Failure

Some of the greatest inventions of all time were invented by accident or bold experimenting in laboratories. Such creative fireworks and even failures can often build strong foundations for a number of future successes.  Learning to fail fast, frequently and cheaply can create a culture of entrepreneurship and calculated risk taking that results in future successes.