By Guy Turner, insights and strategy director, Community Newspaper Group and game-changer, Edge of Glory Jigsaws.

Having recently started with a new company, I’ve been provided with the opportunity to look with fresh eyes on the interrelation between company values, execution and culture. One of the standing values is ‘innovation’, and I’m sure for many of you this appears on your company’s wall too…but what does it really mean? Are you innovating? Do you have an innovative culture? How do you measure it?

Firstly, there’s a significant difference between innovation and change. Enough has already been written about ‘change is the new normal’. The truth about change in established businesses is that it is usually executed for efficiency rather than to harness opportunity. Indeed, change is often the enemy of innovation as the business focus is on change management rather than opportunity creation. So, to this backdrop, what steps need to be taken to foster innovation in your business?

It all starts with knowing your people

What is the known skillset within your business? This will help guide the approach – clearly if you have no technical professionals, you can’t produce a minimum viable product in a tech hackathon without external participation. Perhaps now’s the time to collaborate with other businesses and create a virtual ‘for purpose’ team. This is a fantastic way to diversify your skillsets, operating process and grow your people. Think broadly, be fair, and don’t let detail and paperwork get in the way of the venture.

What’s the ‘unknown’ skillset? Bright and engaged employees frequently have a side gig, sometimes hidden for fear of conflict. Invite people to introduce these skills and businesses into the day job and discover the value of your influencers, eCommercers, tinkerers, programmers, artists and fitspirers.

Who are your advocates? This is a bit of a circa 2009 sales word, but these people are very valuable in opportunity discovery. Advocates are the desirable people for third party businesses to approach in your organisation as they can act as a conduit to key decision makers and facilitate/pitch the value of the opportunity internally. As the door is often shut to the c-suite for unproven, entrepreneurial businesses, this is the side door in and a good advocate will vet the opportunities as they are hanging their personal brand to their recommendations.

Do you have an intrapreneur (or two)? Now we are talking! But can you free them to deliver value? Despite the rhetoric, traditional businesses struggle with lean methodology, and most certainly don’t know how to fail fast and pivot. One thing working to our advantage…the market loves shiny things and has a short attention span. Pop-up and burn out works for bars and eateries, why not media as Sirena Bergman has written in Forbes.

Can you embrace (and promote) challengers and dissidents? Culturally we treat different thinkers with suspicion, frequently resulting in decision making groups with similar backgrounds and thought structures – do you need a successful entre/intrapreneur from outside your leadership to come in and help shake up your thinking?

Finally, in a true testament to the power of advertising, I’ll leave you with a quote from a Jack Daniels ad from 2010: ‘no one ever built a monument to a committee’. Own your ideas and drive your innovations. Try, fail and try again if you are a leader; be courageous, resilient and keep on pitching if you are an advocate or intrapreneur; and don’t quit your day job – bring your side gig into it.

Guy Turner is presenting AdSchool Digital Strategy and Experience Design in Perth from May 16. The course also runs in Melbourne from June 20 and Brisbane from July 4.