Here at SoapBox, we have discovered that there is a direct link between innovation, engagement, and culture. Engagement leads to the creation of ideas, which feeds the inventive spirit of an organization, and inspires innovation. Innovation then has a cyclical effect, feeding that engagement through recognition and rewards. If an organization’s culture provides both engagement and innovation with a strong and sound foundation, then both are destined to thrive and grow together.
As such, if innovation were a garden, the culture of an organization would be the soil. This soil needs to be full of nutrients in order to give any ideas (or “seeds”) the chance to grow and blossom. But the seeds are unlikely to survive in even the best of soil if left on their own. They must be tended to by the gardener, the one who planted the garden.
So, when an idea springs to life in your mind, you must engage with it in order for it to grow. You need to fertilize it, water it, and remove the weeds or problems that crop up and attempt to take away from it. And you also need to protect it from the animals that will come to take it. Similarly with your ideas, they must be evaluated, nurtured and implemented for you to see results. The path to getting to a point where you can tell which ideas will bear fruit and how to manage the topic of the conversation will not necessarily be smooth but you will eventually become very efficient.
In the end, you get to enjoy (and be paid for) your hard work only when your ideas bear delicious fruit. So not only is successfully growing healthy delicious plants a reward in the form of cost-saving or revenue generation, but you having seen an idea through from seed to blossom to fruit leads to a whole new level of self-fulfilment, having witnessed that idea that you started as a seed transform into a beneficial business result.
It says here then that organizations must nurture every aspect of their “garden” for it to be a success, from providing healthy soil to seeding and reseeding it with ideas. Only then will organizations be able to cultivate a strong culture and not end up with a garden full of worthless weeds.