How do I support a collaborative innovative culture within my company?

During the startup phase, it was easy to keep employees engaged. They came up with ideas quickly, acted on them, and then iterated from there. All team members contributed ideas, and all of them were considered for adoption. Everyone worked together with a focused drive towards innovation, and your team was able to build unique products that met genuine market needs.

But that same culture that fueled the rapid growth of your startup has struggled as your company grows. As your organization has branched out into siloed departments, each with various levels of management, intuitive thinking has been replaced with structured processes that may require levels of approval. And because each department maintains its own internal knowledge, great ideas aren’t shared company-wide—they’re likely to benefit only a single team, rather than the entire company. That causes your culture of innovation to stagnate.

So how do you bring it back?

Make sure that every team is able to collaborate with one another in a flexible, transparent knowledge-sharing environment. If employees have the opportunity to ask questions and share their own experiences in a Q-and-A based forum, they’ll be able to iterate on ideas and concepts just as your startup team did. In such a platform, there’s space for a broad diversity of viewpoints from all facets of the organization, so your organization will be able to surface and act on innovative ideas from all departments.

This type of knowledge-sharing will also democratize access to information that every team can use to jumpstart new initiatives. Rather than having a handful of experts serve as gatekeepers of valuable company knowledge, all company technical documentation and best practices will be freely shared, enabling diverse teams and cross-team partnerships to build on and remix existing content for new projects. 

By building a framework for transparent and open discussion and knowledge sharing, you’ll be able to create a culture of innovation and creative thinking that will persist no matter how large your organization grows. 

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