As many as 88% of innovation leaders agree that successful organisations encourage innovation at every level and within every team – but only 16% of companies include “empowering individuals” as an essential part of their corporate culture.

This is one of the findings from a global survey of senior decision makers with involvement in innovation, conducted by Kaspersky with the help of independent research company Savanta.

The linear approach to innovation suggests that senior management initiates this process while subordinate roles are only engaged when it comes round to execution.

However, this is a concern as many in top management positions within enterprises may overlook business opportunities that employees who directly interact with customers or develop products can identify.

That’s why the absolute majority of innovation leaders believe that to be successful organisations should nurture an innovative mindset throughout the entire company. This will create a working atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable to share their thoughts on new ways of working. Moreover, 65% think that innovations are more effective when they are generated by employees.

Nonetheless, only 16% of respondents feel that their organisations now consider ’empowering individuals’ as an essential part of their corporate culture. While it ranks next to last in the list of the most common values, its position is higher in the list of the values that are important to be innovative.

Interestingly, diversity is also ranked higher as a value that is required to be successful. This suggests that innovations call for a multicultural environment and people with different backgrounds to encourage more diverse opinions and ideas.

“To unleash full innovative potential, it’s not enough to have a dedicated department,” comments Vitaly Mzokov, head of the Innovation Hub at Kaspersky. “The best results can be achieved when every employee has a voice and can contribute their ideas.

“Business leaders should encourage and curate this process in their organisations. And executives’ experience and views are more than helpful during the latter stages to align promising ideas with company strategy.”

To support bottom-up innovations Kaspersky recommends the following advice:

* Regularly highlight the importance of innovations in internal communications. This should be done both at C-level and through individual sync-ups with team managers.

* Implement a dedicated program that allows employees to propose new business ideas and opportunities. Set clear selection criteria, review procedures and committee who chooses the most promising ideas. Additionally, motivate employees with a reward program for successful concepts.

* To enhance not only idea generation but the execution of projects, organise a department where employees can work on their selected ideas. It should be separate from the core business and solely dedicated to innovation. They can still use resources and expertise from within the company, but could be autonomous from mechanisms that may stifle the startup mindset. For example, this subdivision can test its hypotheses on loyal customers to improve the offering based on their feedback.

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