Creating an Innovation Strategy that Works for Your Organization

Creating an Innovation Strategy that Works for Your Organization

GUEST POST from Art Inteligencia

In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business landscape, organizations must continually innovate to stay competitive. However, developing a successful innovation strategy requires careful planning and execution. It involves more than just having a creative vision; it requires aligning innovation efforts with organizational goals and ensuring a conducive environment for fostering innovative ideas. In this article, we will explore two successful case studies that exemplify the effective implementation of innovation strategies.

Case Study 1: Google’s 20% Time

Google, one of the world’s most innovative companies, has a renowned innovation strategy known as “20% Time.” In this strategy, Google allows its employees to spend 20% of their work time on projects they are passionate about, even if these projects are not directly related to their job responsibilities. This initiative has given birth to some of Google’s most successful products, including Gmail and Google Maps.

The 20% Time strategy showcases how empowering employees to pursue their own ideas can lead to breakthrough innovations. It encourages a culture of experimentation and risk-taking, fostering an environment where innovation thrives. By enabling individuals to work on personal projects, Google taps into the collective intelligence of its employees and unlocks their creative potential. This strategy has not only yielded successful products but also boosted morale, engagement, and retention.

Key takeaways from Google’s 20% Time strategy include:

1. Encourage autonomy: Provide employees with the freedom to explore their own ideas within a specified time-frame. This autonomy fuels their motivation and allows them to contribute their unique perspectives.

2. Communicate purpose: Ensure employees understand the purpose behind the 20% Time initiative. By aligning personal interests with organizational goals, individuals are more likely to pursue projects that have meaningful impact.

Case Study 2: 3M’s Post-it Notes

3M, a multinational manufacturing company, is widely recognized for its culture of innovation. Its most famous innovation is the humble Post-it Note, which was created by accident. In the 1970s, 3M engineer Spencer Silver was attempting to develop a strong adhesive but ended up discovering a weak one instead. The company recognized the potential opportunities in this “failed” experiment and encouraged employees to find practical applications for this adhesive.

Art Fry, another 3M employee, envisioned a reusable bookmark that could stick to paper without damaging it. This led to the birth of Post-it Notes. 3M’s innovation strategy, which emphasizes serendipity and supporting employees’ lateral thinking, played a pivotal role in the creation of this iconic product.

Key takeaways from 3M’s approach to innovation include:

1. Embrace spontaneous ideas: Give employees the flexibility to experiment and pursue unconventional ideas. Sometimes, the least expected developments can lead to game-changing innovations.

2. Nurture a supportive culture: Create an organizational culture that values and rewards innovative ideas. When employees feel supported and encouraged, they are more likely to explore alternative solutions without fear of failure.


Creating an innovation strategy that works for your organization involves providing the right environment, empowering employees, and encouraging creativity. The case studies of Google’s 20% Time and 3M’s Post-it Notes demonstrate the power of these strategies in driving successful innovation. By fostering an innovation-focused culture and enabling individuals to pursue their ideas, organizations can unleash their full potential and stay ahead in today’s dynamic business landscape.

Bottom line: Futurists are not fortune tellers. They use a formal approach to achieve their outcomes, but a methodology and tools like those in FutureHacking™ can empower anyone to be their own futurist.

Image credit: Pixabay

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