Internal (intercultural) communications: Secret Ingredients for Innovation

Henry Doss has recently published an article on Forbes entitled: “Innovation: Leadership is always the key”. He rightly says that if an organisation is struggling with innovation it might be focussing on systems and processes rather than on the development and nurturing of powerful individual leaders. Whereas I certainly agree that (mindful) leadership is a very important factor when creating and fostering a culture of innovation, I also believe that communication, especially internal communications and intercultural communications are key ingredients that cannot be missed out.

Why? Imagine how many different teams in diverse functions such as marketing, sales, research&development etc. have to work together to predict trends and think about new products/services that could succeed in their specific market(s). Without effective internal communications including discussions, feedback, questions and so on, an idea will never get through the funnel and be tested in the end.

Likewise, if the various team members are lacking intercultural communication skills, they will not only fail to identify how a specific customer need could be successfully met in their identified target market; they will also fail to communicate the creative input or idea to the respective teams and functions which very often are globally spread out and staffed with people from around the world. An idea needs clear communication and a tailored approach to market so that it can be successful and developed further by all relevant internal stakeholders.

Of course teams and organisations need visionary and powerful leaders who are able to put their ‘creative thinking cap’ on and translate sometimes vague and ‘fancy’ ideas into real products and services adapted to customer’s needs and markets. Nevertheless, in my experience, effective internal (intercultural) communications, mixed with a culture of trust and appreciation are really the “secret” ingredients for successful innovation.

Do you have any experience with innovation and what works/what doesn’t? Looking forward to reading/hearing about it!

Have an excellent weekend and please follow me per mail or in your WordPress reader to learn more on intercultural communications and mindful leadership! Jenny

4 thoughts on “Internal (intercultural) communications: Secret Ingredients for Innovation

  1. Henry Doss

    Hi Jenny! And thanks for the comment on my Forbes column. I couldn’t agree more with you about communication and the critical role it plays in innovation. One of the downsides of writing 800 – 1,000 words about any topic — especially innovation! — is what you have to leave out. Building and leading innovation ecosystems is a mutli-discipline, mutli-skill, complex undertaking. Without strong communications — both cultural/system processes and conventions that foster communication and strong communication skills on the part of individuals — things will bog down and stall. Thanks for commenting and raising this important issue!

    • Jenny Ebermann (bxljenny) Post author

      Hi Henry, thanks for reading my comment to your post and thanks for having brought up the subject of innovation. In many companies nowadays, creativity seems to be locked and processes tedious and long. We seem to forget that we are dealing with people not with machines. People like to be lead by charismatic persons they can trust but they also like positive feedback, valuable discussions as well as empathy and constructive critique (positive and negative). Only then can innovation blossom and great ideas see the light… Let me know when you post something next time, you now have one more reader 😉 have a great evening, Jenny

  2. Roberto Abramovich (@RobertoAbramovi)

    Hi Jenny,

    As always, very good insight.

    I am seeing so many people elaborating complicated theories about the right processes, the miracle steps, organisational set up that would spark innovation. Before any organisational change, leaders must realise that people drive the processes and initiatives are carried on by cross-functional collaboration. The flesh and bone of these innovation teams is good communication. And companies would dramatically increase their success rate if they worked on this first before anything else.

    • Jenny Ebermann (bxljenny) Post author

      Dear Roberto, thanks a lot for stopping by and reading my article. I completely agree with you: people are not only to be considered as ‘human capital’ but are in fact the backbone of every organisation. A positive and motivating work environment where people are valorised coupled with functioning and effective internal communications are the basis for organisational excellence and innovation! Jenny

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