Principles to an Innovative Work Culture

Have you ever wondered what makes a team innovative? Or perhaps why certain creative organisations that were once coming up with paradigm shifting novelties are no longer leading the industries? A lot of this has to do with what model and principles that they embrace. Let us look at some of these principles required to build an innovative company.

Principle 1: Implementing an innovative model

  • The traditional PDCA model

Most people in the commercial world would have heard of the PDCA cycle: Plan, Do, Check and Act. This model was developed to enhance the production system and improve the quality control of an operating system. While this method is still important in many industries, it’s true relevancy lies in improving operations and not creating new innovations. Innovating with the QPMI model. The QPMI cycle on the other hand liberates an innovative mind by giving people greater freedom and flexibility. While the concept of the PDCA model is to compartmentalise people to improve in their existing task, the QPMI model seeks to drive people towards creating new value in the areas of their interest. The QPMI cycle stands for: Question, Passion, Mission and Innovation and we’ll be going through each section in the next part of this article

  • Quality Questions

The first part of the QPMI cycle is developing quality questions by identifying problems in different circumstances. It begins by firstly recognising that there is a problem then coming up with the question of why it
happens and how can we solve this problem. Passion with purpose drawing upon the curiosity to solve the problem, the individual develops a personal passion to solve the problem. This will fuel the person towards achieving the goal and inspiring others to take up the cause to solve the problem.

  • Mission (with like-minded members)

Embark on the mission to solve the identified problem through a series of trial and errors. It is also during this

period that the individual also seeks members who either face the same problem and questions or are incited with passion to solve the problem to join in the mission.

  • Innovation

The team innovates and creates something valuable to solve the identified problem. With the problem solved,

the team restarts the cycle by identifying another problem that they may be facing and come up with new quality questions.

Principle 2: Converging different fields for innovation

Being surrounded by individuals with similar training may result in a team that isn’t exposed to exploring non -conventional methods to solve the problem. This is because the team will most likely be using conventional
methods common to the industry to solve the problem instead of considering other pathways that will result in
innovation. By drawing upon a diversity of different specialist in different areas, the team will be able to brainstorm from different angles and leverage and cover on each other’s unique industrial strength and weaknesses. This will result in a team that is able to “think outside the box” in its attempt to solve a problem; bringing about innovation.

Principle 3: Embracing technology

Advancement of technology has revolutionised industries. The use of steam power technology for
example had resulted in the widely known 18th century industrial revolution that had changed manufacturing
forever. The advancement of technology generally helps to ease monotonous and routine work, allowing people to focus on the key task at hands. Beyond easing simple task, embracing technology also helps to reduce the need for the typical middle manager to manage people. In the past, companies required the use of middle managers to supervise subordinates, accumulate and disseminate knowledge and raise efficiency. However, with the modern day advancement of IT, the use of certain programs like Google calendar and Slack allows all the members in the company to see what everyone is doing – thus partially covering the middle management role. Through embracing technology, the middle management changes from one that supervises into one that trains and mentors thus further increasing the organisation’s innovation and efficiency.

Putting into practise

The following 3 principles: QPMI cycle, converging different specialist in a project and embracing
technology were introduced in this short article. These 3 points can be used to boost a company’s innovative culture and efficiency – allowing the organisation to grow in value. A way to implement this is to consider how the people on the ground are working. Are they excited and motivated? Are they passionate and coming up with
new quality questions to solve a problem? If they aren’t, it is good to give them some space and nudge them in the direction of developing a quality question (as explained in the QPMI cycle). Encourage the questions that they are bringing up and mentor them in the way to bring about innovation for the company.

To know more

The following principles comes from the book Science Bridge Communicator which was written by Dr. Yukihiro Maru, CEO and representative director of Leave a Nest Co., Ltd. He earned his doctorate in agricultural science
at the graduate school of agriculture and life sciences in the University of Tokyo. Other key concepts that
are covered in the book includes: the mechanism that transforms ideas into businesses, building sustainable internal systems that give rise to innovation and principles to create an innovative organisation. To find out more, you can contact Leave a Nest at:

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