7 ways to create a collaborative culture and drive innovation


poster heptagon thinking

The flexibility to innovate is the best differentiator in enterprise right this moment. There are a lot of totally different ways a firm can innovate, whether or not that’s creating new merchandise, uncovering extra environment friendly market channels, optimizing value or buying new prospects. However one factor stays constant: it’s the foremost power that defines whether or not a firm can pivot and maintain what traders count on. 

The pandemic has made innovation extra vital than ever earlier than. In accordance to a McKinsey Global Survey, as a results of the pandemic, shoppers have moved dramatically towards on-line channels, and corporations and industries have responded in flip. For instance, I’ve seen retailers discover the shift to e-commerce, healthcare corporations to telehealth, and monetary providers corporations to on-line banking.

The truth is, greater than half of the executives surveyed by McKinsey in 2020, see digital transformation as a aggressive benefit or are refocusing their whole enterprise round digital applied sciences. 


The important thing to profitable innovation, although, is the tempo at which it occurs. Companies want to make thorough and definitive selections rapidly, whereas concurrently attaining buy-in from all stakeholders. That is the place collaboration performs an vital position. 

Progressive considering and collaboration is much less a philosophy and extra of a science. In my position as a member of the Workplace of the CTO at Google, I work with a staff of technologists and trade consultants with a mission to “collaboratively innovate” with our prospects. We’ve helped companies clear up their most difficult and ambiguous issues by means of the lens of expertise. We’ve helped an insurance coverage firm go utterly paperless in lower than 18 months and helped a shopper packaged items firm redefine how to cope with plastics of their provide chain. It’s at all times a mixture of partaking the individuals, enhancing the processes and accelerating each by means of the worth of expertise. 

“Heptagon Considering” is a seven step system that my staff developed to information collaboration with our prospects, which helps them make main adjustments that disrupt industries. We discover it notably helpful as a result of anybody at any stage of the group can use this methodology and may be utilized anyplace individuals want to come collectively to clear up a drawback or transfer an effort ahead. The change received’t be immediate, it takes effort, communication and dedication, however it is going to finally present the capability to innovate quicker and drive higher success. Supreme to all these steps is the willingness to make failure acceptable. Typically issues don’t work, particularly when pushing the boundaries. Settle for that and transfer on, however don’t cease innovating. It will encourage your staff to create and execute – and really feel secure whereas doing so.  


 Present a platform to empower individuals as equals in addressing innovation. The perfect innovation typically comes from inside a corporation, sparked by feedback like “why will we try this?” or “I want…” and the cherished “nicely that was a waste of time.”

Pay attention

Improved listening leads to higher understanding of concepts. A give attention to listening additionally permits a chief to higher information and determine areas to give attention to. Your staff is aware of you and your organization one of the best, give them area to be heard and ask questions.



Be tremendous clear about “why” we do what we do as a firm or innovation. For instance, “Why are we doing this?,” or “Why will prospects care?” and “Why will we exist?” Give attention to discovering the why. Will probably be laborious to outline, however if you do, the remaining turns into a lot simpler. 

Friction. It’s not at all times about being first, and even creating the following nice piece of expertise. The perfect innovation comes from eradicating friction that advantages the person. It’s typically that corporations are nonetheless coping with the preconceived notions of the previous. For instance, I ceaselessly hear,We don’t do issues like that right here” orWe’ve at all times carried out it this manner.” Eradicating the friction is step one to disruption. Eradicating bias offers the bandwidth for individuals and sources to give attention to altering issues for the long run.


What are you well-known for? That’s the place innovation will proceed to have its biggest influence for a corporation. Make it a headline and ever current, “What are we well-known for?” Give attention to specifics and make it one thing easy. Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin at all times stated, “Any dialog I’ve about innovation begins with the last word purpose.”


It’s vital to construct in time and area for stakeholders to suppose and replicate, and even calm down for a interval. For instance, I typically go for lengthy walks once I want to make vital selections. It’s the uninterrupted area that enables me to replicate. And, when you’ve a staff with numerous views, it’s typically the area that enables for one of the best discussions and creativity. Create area!


 It’s crucial you progress rapidly in all features of innovation, even early concepts ought to be shared to present the flexibility for individuals to contribute. Don’t look ahead to the proper written report; sharing early helps you study quicker. Failure is OK as you push the boundaries of innovation as a result of not each innovation will work. That is referred to as “fail quick” in expertise however I want an method akin to experiment and studying, main to a optimistic influence. Even one thing that fails quick is a nice profit to studying and continuous innovation.

John Abel is technical director within the workplace of the CTO at (*7*), whose mission is to “collaboratively innovate” with prospects, fostering long run relationships to information prospects’ digital transformation objectives and finally disrupt their industries.