Creating a culture of continuous innovation isn’t as difficult as you think. Today’s work environment is the most complex in history, and the way that we view information is changing rapidly – part of a broader change that is impacting organisations of all sizes and in all industries. Where technology used to be the primary means of achieving business goals, the focus today is on how people work, share information and collaborate.

This has been a difficult environment for many organisations to navigate, but some leaders have stood out for their ability to quickly capture, transform and manage their critical business information. At Ricoh, we call this information mobility, and it’s at the very foundation of business success in the new world of work. Specifically, it is a key enabler of innovation—and organisations looking to create an innovative climate must first examine how information flows throughout their organisation, and how they can best use that information to make better business decisions.

Information: The heart of innovation

If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.” – Jack Welch

Understanding how information flows through an organisation is the key to harnessing its power and using it to drive innovation and business success.

This information cycle starts with capture — the creation of information, whether that’s by generating ideas from internal stakeholders, or by capturing ideas and data from external sources. From there, information moves to the transform phase, where information moves throughout the organisation, carrying business value. Finally, information must be delivered, at the right time, in the right place, in the right format, so that it can be most useful to the intended audience, allowing them to make better business decisions. This is the manage phase.

In my time working with organisations, I’ve found that the more of these information cycles that exist during the total lifespan of the information in question, the more turbulent the flow of information throughout the organisation. This leads to lost integrity, diffused value and increased risks, and is complicated further when organisations become more mobile, and information must be managed effectively enough to reach multiple sources, often at the same time.

These issues are only exacerbated by the external challenges facing many modern organisations: the speed of workstyle and technological change; an increasingly competitive landscape dotted with lean, agile competition; and increased scrutiny of regulatory requirements. To create a culture that encourages innovation, organisations must look to break down these barriers and open the flow of information throughout an entire organisation. The benefits of this approach are clear. Innovation leaders enjoy:

No challenge is too big

In a successful organisation, information becomes innovation—and information mobility is the gateway.

Of course, there are a number of potential stumbling blocks within an organisation. Perhaps your information is siloed, or you’re struggling to do more with less. Maybe you’re being forced to respond to the business challenges of 2016 with equipment built 10 or 20 years ago. Or perhaps you’re struggling to keep employees on board with changes in your organisation or adapting to their unique workstyle needs. Whatever the case, this transformation to a culture of continuous innovation requires a robust mobility strategy.

This strategy must address a number of issues:

  • Enabling cross-departmental collaboration and breaking down silos
  • Protecting the organisation with a strong information security and governance plan
  • Integrating mobile devices and apps to support business processes
  • Implementing technology that can digitise information and reduce reliance on paper. Re-engineering office space to create a more collaborative work environment
  • Employing cloud to its greatest effect for your organisation’s unique needs
  • Keep up to date with the latest technologies, so that employees can work remotely, share information and better collaborate.

A culture of continuous improvement requires an organisational-wide commitment to information mobility, and it certainly isn’t a small job. But this is made easier by bringing on a trusted partner to provide a balanced, outside look at your mobility strategy. The benefits of an information mobility-driven approach to innovation are clear — research[1] shows that this strategy can help organisations boost revenue by an average of $7,210 an employee, increase productivity by 42 percent, and reduce costs.

That’s what innovation can bring to your organisation.

Learn how other organisations are creating a culture of innovation to drive effective change at RicohChangeMakers.

[1] IDC research commissioned by Ricoh Americas, 2015