Ofwat's You Tube guide to innovation tells why failure is an option

Ofwat’s Spark! programme on Tuesday concentrated on defining and pinning down how to build a culture of innovation in a business. Among the messages shared by contributors Microsoft, BT, Flipper, Bromford Group and Tideway were:

  • Along with purpose, tools and processes, culture is key to delivering successful innovation.

  • Company leaders have a fundamental role to play in nurturing innovation, in terms of both leading from the front (setting the purpose and mission) and creating the right environment for their staff to want to try new things. There are many strands to the latter, from incentives, to structures to facilitate idea sharing (via structured crowdsourcing for instance, or breaking down internal silos), to recognition where ideas prove valuable.

  • Telling people to innovate is one thing, but it is also essential to support them by providing the appropriate means, space and environment. Critically, this includes accepting the probability that innovation will sometimes lead to failure, and that any failure must be learned from. It can also be helpful to measure individuals' performance on innovation criteria.

Next week’s Spark! programme (11am Tuesday) will look at collaboration as a path to innovation.