Fostering a culture of innovation is crucial for companies aiming to stay ahead in today's rapidly evolving business landscape. This is especially true in the fintech space where products are available globally online with widely divergent user experiences. By nurturing an environment that values creativity, encourages risk-taking, and promotes open communication, companies can unlock the potential of their employees and drive ground-breaking ideas.
Hire a diverse culture
One way of creating this environment is to recruit a diverse workforce, in which each member brings something unique to the table. But seeking to attract and retain the best talent available and then not leveraging personal experience and expertise is like buying a new car and leaving it in the garage. Simply employing across the demographic spectrum but not tapping into the wealth of ideas on offer is a wasted opportunity.
Diversity goes beyond race, different language groups, gender, age, disability, religion and sexual orientation. It’s also about diversity of ideas and experience. Imagine all the different perspectives different groups represent and how innovative idea sharing could be.
Many new products have been developed from inputs from so-called ‘minority’ population groups – from left-handed golf clubs and scissors to hearing aids and braille. In the fintech world, this translates to technical innovation, enhanced user experience and more.
Provide resources and support
Once you have put together your diverse team, it is also important to foster an atmosphere of trust and respect. It’s possible that many employees have never experienced the freedom to contribute freely in previous workplaces. There is truly no such thing as a bad idea, every new idea moves the company forward in some way, even if it is to show where you don’t want to go.
All ideas should be acknowledged, and successes – and failures – rewarded. Companies can introduce idea-sharing platforms – it might be an internal mail system or simply an ‘ideas box’. Establish regular open forums where cross-functional collaboration can happen and brainstorming leads to the growth and development of the company.
Lead by example
Leadership has a crucial role to play in fostering this culture of innovation and sharing. Managers, heads of departments and team leaders must be the ones to show the way and provide the platforms for this idea-sharing. If leaders actively engage in the process, supporting innovation initiatives and recognising innovative thinking, even more creativity will be stimulated.
Companies need to have a clearly defined product development strategy and R&D mindset. Ukheshe is leading the way and Jason Penton, company co-founder and head of Ukheshe Labs says growing an innovation hub should be a priority for any company operating in the tech sphere. “As a company grows, there is often a very structured process for business as usual. When that happens, it’s easy to become stuck in mundane processes, leaving product development by the wayside. The idea behind Ukheshe Labs is to prevent this by bringing together highly skilled individuals, people who can think outside the box, to focus on innovation as the company grows.”
Any company, by fostering a spirit of idea sharing, can create growth potential amongst their employee base.