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S2E01: Building Innovation Culture

Building an innovation culture requires more than just change. It requires new mindsets, right environments to ideate, skills, processes and customer insights to create new possibilities for innovation to take place. It is a transformation journey that must be done together!

Let’s hear more from our Consultants, Su Min & Claire, as they share their experiences in their own journeys.

Jackie Yap 00:00:11

Hello and welcome to the Capelle Livechat, where you get business insights amidst these changing times. I’m Jackie and with me today are my colleagues Su Min and Claire. Welcome peeps!

We’re going to talk a little bit about building innovation capability. So let me start the ball rolling by asking you, what is innovation?

Su Min 00:00:34

I’m glad you asked that. So before this recording I did a Google search. I keyed in three words – definition of innovation, and guess how many results came out.

Jackie Yap 00:00:44

Hundred thousand?

Claire Lim 00:00:45

Two hundred, three hundred thousand, four hundred thousand?

Su Min 00:00:50

That’s far, far, far from what I found. I found 2,000,000 results on the definition of innovation, so everyone has a different definition of what innovation is. So for the purpose of this recording and our discussion, we will define innovation as change. It’s about looking at things and situations differently to find new possibilities, transforming customers’ experience, but all this is just not enough. What will happen is, all these new possibilities, transforming experience, must add value to your customers. Must be something that will matter to your customer.

Jackie Yap 00:01:23

I like that. Something that will matter to your customer, so maybe we can unpack that a little bit. Could you say a bit more about creating new possibilities and also transforming customers’ experience?

Claire Lim 00:01:36

So for me personally, one of those new experiences that I personally got to try was telemedicine. So I’m a young mum, my son is three and a half years old, and in this Covid situation, we’re nervous for him to leave the house. So when he was very sick, we didn’t know what to do, and we realized that we had the option of telemedicine, and telemedicine allowed us to virtually interface with the doctor. He could diagnose my son over the video, ask questions, see how my son responded. We could do this at 10PM at night, and within an hour and a half, the medicine arrived by courier. Payment was settled over the app. It was so incredible.

I think the possibilities today are endless in terms of where we could use a virtual function. I think now in terms of interior designing, meeting your real estate agent, meeting your insurance agent, everything is now done virtually online.

Jackie Yap 00:02:26

Wow, all this without stepping outside your front door.

Claire Lim 00:02:29

It’s quite amazing.

Jackie Yap 00:02:31

And yeah, what about future or new possibilities?

Su Min 00:02:36

So this pandemic has presented a lot of possibilities to customers, people like us. So Claire talked about transforming experience, right? So one of the key issues during this pandemic is the mental well-being of people. So when you are struggling with mental health issues and stuff, it becomes very challenging for you to discuss that with another person. It adds actually more anxiety to the person, so understanding the fears, the concerns and the needs of these people – organizations have come about to create chatbots, so that they will be able to provide first line of help to people who needs attention in their mental health, and to do it anytime, anywhere and anonymously.

Jackie Yap 00:03:21

How engaging are these chatbots though? Because I’m sure we’ve tried a few and they’re not so interesting.

Claire Lim 00:03:28

I’ve heard about them and actually I tried one recently, and it’s quite amazing. Firstly, there’s a chatbot function which lets you talk to a computer like a human being, but beyond that I remember in my, in my, many years ago when I was a lot younger, I used to like to journal. Now these chatbots come with a journaling function and with AI embedded inside, it studies what you write in your chats, studies what you write in your journals, and it can then recommend the right resources for you or the chatbot can respond to you appropriately. How amazing is that?

Su Min 00:03:57

I mean it’s so interesting, right? Because it looks at the lifestyle of the people and then works a solution around it, and that is really creating new possibilities and transforming their experience as well. And while doing that it also adds value to people who need help.

Jackie Yap 00:04:14

Wow so it can even refer helpful resources to you?

Su Min 00:04:18

Yep, so if you need help like what to do, what to say in the area of work, in your personal life, it dispenses advice as well.

Claire Lim 00:04:27

That’s quite amazing. This is quite a big innovation, though. Are all innovations so big?

Su Min 00:04:34

This is a good question. So when we think about innovation, we have this idea that innovation has to be big. But sometimes innovation could be small. So I recall this supermarket that I used to go to. It’s located at this location where it’s frequented by elderly citizens, residents. So imagine if you are an elderly person, you have to go and do grocery shopping. What will be some of your pain points?

Jackie Yap 00:04:58

I have to bring my reading glasses.

Su Min 00:05:01

And sometimes when you forget to do that, what will happen?

Jackie Yap 00:05:05

I’ll have to ask maybe a young person? Can you read the label for me? I can’t read this.

Su Min 00:05:10

Yeah, exactly, so they understood the pain points of their customers and what they did was they actually put magnifying glasses along the aisles.

Claire Lim 00:05:16

Oh wow, that’s so thoughtful.

Su Min 00:05:18

Yeah, so I don’t even have to bring along with me or even search my bag to bring out my reading glasses. I will be able to read the fine print, the product labels.

Jackie Yap 00:05:28

So they just reach out, grab the magnifying glass and have a look.

Su Min 00:05:31

Exactly yeah, but this may not be very big to the operations of the supermarket, but certainly it has changed the experience of their customers.

Claire Lim 00:05:42

I like that it’s also low in cost, which makes innovation very accessible to all.

Su Min 00:05:46

Exactly right.

Jackie Yap 00:05:47

And so pragmatic. Yeah so these are great ideas, but let’s say I’m new to this or I’m halfway along this innovation journey, how do I actually build that capability that you talk about?

Claire Lim 00:06:04

Well, here in Capelle, we really have three different pillars that we look at to build that capability. First, we look at the right culture and mindset that an organization needs to have such a capability. Then we look at the skillsets in the people. And lastly, the systems and processes that govern the organization.

Jackie Yap 00:06:21

What kind of culture do they need?

Claire Lim 00:06:23

Thank you for that. So you know, we talk about innovation, it’s about ideas, about many ideas, and to have many ideas, to be unafraid to share these ideas, you need safety, psychological safety, and so it’s really about creating a culture of freedom, a culture where you’re not afraid to express and share ideas, and it’s really about the leadership team in place. The leaders need to set the right example, they need to respond accordingly, respond well to ideas, to failures, to mistakes.

Jackie Yap 00:06:51

So how do I as a leader encourage this kind of free flow of ideas?

Claire Lim 00:06:58

Wow, there’re so many different ways you can do it. You can do that by how you respond to people, you can do that through your platforms that you have in place. I think Su Min was sharing with me about how her company did this last time.

Su Min 00:07:09

So one of the companies I used to work for. The CEO actually chairs innovation meetings on a fortnightly basis. Yeah, so that’s where, a platform for us to share our ideas, to get his buy in, to get his approval and also to get his comments on whether we are going on the right track, but fortnightly is a big commitment.

Claire Lim 00:07:31

Big commitment indeed.

Jackie Yap 00:07:31

Yeah, that’s great, right?

Claire Lim 00:07:34

I can imagine how all this can really help build up a certain culture for an organization.

Jackie Yap 00:07:38

So Claire, earlier on you mentioned three things, culture, skills as well as process. So skills, what do we need?

Su Min 00:07:44

So Claire talked about having ideas, ideas are good and sometimes we need to have many ideas. So innovation is about having a certain level of vulnerability, to be able to have failure. But we also can take calculated risks. So how do we minimize that risk? It’s about having innovation that are data-driven.

Jackie Yap 00:08:08

What does that mean, to be data-driven?

Su Min 00:08:11

So it’s about understanding the needs of your customers. It’s not just having an idea from nowhere and there’s no basis for it, but really have a good ground by understanding how your customers feel or what they need, what are their pains, what are their gains, and how we could contribute to transforming their experiences or even creating new possibilities to add value to them.

Jackie Yap 00:08:32

Is there any tool that I can use to help me do that?

Su Min 00:08:35

Maybe let’s share an experience that we had worked on. So this organization came to us. They wanted to build an innovation culture and they specifically told us they wanted to build an insight-led innovation culture. So what we did was, we actually helped them to look into knowledge management system. But that is not the end, it’s about how we can use those data to help us make decisions. So how to translate those data into insights and how to also communicate those insights to spark innovation.

Jackie Yap 00:09:07

So it’s kind of like a funnel.

Su Min 00:09:09

Exactly, yeah, but now that you have all these data to inspire you to go on an innovation journey, then what’s next? So what we also had proposed was a tool, which is, design thinking. So the beauty of design thinking is it’s human centered. It starts from the needs of your customers. Start by understanding their needs and then start thinking about ideas, brainstorming ideas, and Claire, you have done a lot of brainstorming workshops. Maybe you could share with us some of your experiences.

Claire Lim 00:09:41

Oh yes, Su Min, actually I think what’s very critical for a successful brainstorming workshop is about having that psychological safety in a workshop. Recently we actually conducted one, and we noticed that the staff were very quiet. We tried to uncover a bit more, and realized that there was some fear based on how their bosses had responded to them in the past.
So what was so critical was a two-pronged approach. Number one with the staff, we worked with them on how they could present their ideas, how to pitch it, but with the bosses, we had an honest conversation with them on how they should respond to their staff, how they can create that openness and safety so that both parties could come together and really start this innovation journey.

Su Min 00:10:18

Wonderful, isn’t it?

Jackie Yap 00:10:20

Thank you. Yeah, and there’s another block that you were talking about, which is the process. Can you elaborate more on that?

Claire Lim 00:10:28

Actually, it’s really important when we talk about innovation that the culture and the skills are supported by the right systems and processes in an organization. So when we talk about systems in an organization, it is really ensuring that they are the right mechanisms to reward this behavior and it can be monetary or non-monetary, but what we really want to do is to celebrate with people. Whether or not it’s successful, the efforts they’ve made in innovation and on top of all this, we also want to ensure that people are supported in their journey, whether or not it’s ensuring that there are funding available for them, that there are processes in place to fast-track approvals that need it, or whether it’s having brainstorming sessions or reflection sessions to look back and to learn from your past experiences and improve for the future.
These are all so critical to be embedded and to be made into part of what your company does on a regular basis. It’s not just ad hoc.

Jackie Yap 00:11:23

Wow these are great ideas that we can all implement, culture, mindset, getting the right environment to generate ideas and experiment the skills, especially to use data to get insights, to help our customers and of course, processes.

Yeah, so for our listeners who are listening in, maybe you can share one insight or one tip, to people who really want to go on this journey. Or maybe, but you could even share what excites you about this.

Su Min 00:12:00

So I’m glad you talked about journey, so innovation is a journey. It’s not a one-off event. It has to be a journey that is journeyed with the rest of the organization. So continue to stay on this journey. It may not be a smooth journey, but it’s a worthwhile journey.

Jackie Yap 00:12:15

So that means it takes time.

Su Min 00:12:16

Exactly right, and perseverance.

Claire Lim 00:12:20

I think for me what’s very critical is that it’s insight-led, and these insights must come from your customers. So I think what’s really powerful about design thinking’s that you really walk in the shoes of the users and you get a chance to really hear what they’re feeling, what they’re thinking, and really, what matters to them? These insights are then so powerful in shaping the right solution like the chatbots or telemedicine. And all these things came from data. They were inspired by data.

Jackie Yap 00:12:48

Thank you and what I learned from today is that innovation doesn’t have to be big, it could be small, like the magnifying glass at the supermarket. So, thank you for joining us. Thank you Su Min and Claire. This is Capelle Livechat and we hope that you have found this conversation beneficial.

Building an innovation culture requires more than just change. It requires new mindsets, right environments to ideate, skills, processes and customer insights to create new possibilities for innovation to take place. It is a transformation journey that must be done together!

Let’s hear more from our Consultants, Su Min & Claire, as they share their experiences in their own journeys.

Transcript

Jackie Yap 00:00:11

Hello and welcome to the Capelle Livechat, where you get business insights amidst these changing times. I’m Jackie and with me today are my colleagues Su Min and Claire. Welcome peeps!

We’re going to talk a little bit about building innovation capability. So let me start the ball rolling by asking you, what is innovation?

Su Min 00:00:34

I’m glad you asked that. So before this recording I did a Google search. I keyed in three words – definition of innovation, and guess how many results came out.

Jackie Yap 00:00:44

Hundred thousand?

Claire Lim 00:00:45

Two hundred, three hundred thousand, four hundred thousand?

Su Min 00:00:50

That’s far, far, far from what I found. I found 2,000,000 results on the definition of innovation, so everyone has a different definition of what innovation is. So for the purpose of this recording and our discussion, we will define innovation as change. It’s about looking at things and situations differently to find new possibilities, transforming customers’ experience, but all this is just not enough. What will happen is, all these new possibilities, transforming experience, must add value to your customers. Must be something that will matter to your customer.

Jackie Yap 00:01:23

I like that. Something that will matter to your customer, so maybe we can unpack that a little bit. Could you say a bit more about creating new possibilities and also transforming customers’ experience?

Claire Lim 00:01:36

So for me personally, one of those new experiences that I personally got to try was telemedicine. So I’m a young mum, my son is three and a half years old, and in this Covid situation, we’re nervous for him to leave the house. So when he was very sick, we didn’t know what to do, and we realized that we had the option of telemedicine, and telemedicine allowed us to virtually interface with the doctor. He could diagnose my son over the video, ask questions, see how my son responded. We could do this at 10PM at night, and within an hour and a half, the medicine arrived by courier. Payment was settled over the app. It was so incredible.

I think the possibilities today are endless in terms of where we could use a virtual function. I think now in terms of interior designing, meeting your real estate agent, meeting your insurance agent, everything is now done virtually online.

Jackie Yap 00:02:26

Wow, all this without stepping outside your front door.

Claire Lim 00:02:29

It’s quite amazing.

Jackie Yap 00:02:31

And yeah, what about future or new possibilities?

Su Min 00:02:36

So this pandemic has presented a lot of possibilities to customers, people like us. So Claire talked about transforming experience, right? So one of the key issues during this pandemic is the mental well-being of people. So when you are struggling with mental health issues and stuff, it becomes very challenging for you to discuss that with another person. It adds actually more anxiety to the person, so understanding the fears, the concerns and the needs of these people – organizations have come about to create chatbots, so that they will be able to provide first line of help to people who needs attention in their mental health, and to do it anytime, anywhere and anonymously.

Jackie Yap 00:03:21

How engaging are these chatbots though? Because I’m sure we’ve tried a few and they’re not so interesting.

Claire Lim 00:03:28

I’ve heard about them and actually I tried one recently, and it’s quite amazing. Firstly, there’s a chatbot function which lets you talk to a computer like a human being, but beyond that I remember in my, in my, many years ago when I was a lot younger, I used to like to journal. Now these chatbots come with a journaling function and with AI embedded inside, it studies what you write in your chats, studies what you write in your journals, and it can then recommend the right resources for you or the chatbot can respond to you appropriately. How amazing is that?

Su Min 00:03:57

I mean it’s so interesting, right? Because it looks at the lifestyle of the people and then works a solution around it, and that is really creating new possibilities and transforming their experience as well. And while doing that it also adds value to people who need help.

Jackie Yap 00:04:14

Wow so it can even refer helpful resources to you?

Su Min 00:04:18

Yep, so if you need help like what to do, what to say in the area of work, in your personal life, it dispenses advice as well.

Claire Lim 00:04:27

That’s quite amazing. This is quite a big innovation, though. Are all innovations so big?

Su Min 00:04:34

This is a good question. So when we think about innovation, we have this idea that innovation has to be big. But sometimes innovation could be small. So I recall this supermarket that I used to go to. It’s located at this location where it’s frequented by elderly citizens, residents. So imagine if you are an elderly person, you have to go and do grocery shopping. What will be some of your pain points?

Jackie Yap 00:04:58

I have to bring my reading glasses.

Su Min 00:05:01

And sometimes when you forget to do that, what will happen?

Jackie Yap 00:05:05

I’ll have to ask maybe a young person? Can you read the label for me? I can’t read this.

Su Min 00:05:10

Yeah, exactly, so they understood the pain points of their customers and what they did was they actually put magnifying glasses along the aisles.

Claire Lim 00:05:16

Oh wow, that’s so thoughtful.

Su Min 00:05:18

Yeah, so I don’t even have to bring along with me or even search my bag to bring out my reading glasses. I will be able to read the fine print, the product labels.

Jackie Yap 00:05:28

So they just reach out, grab the magnifying glass and have a look.

Su Min 00:05:31

Exactly yeah, but this may not be very big to the operations of the supermarket, but certainly it has changed the experience of their customers.

Claire Lim 00:05:42

I like that it’s also low in cost, which makes innovation very accessible to all.

Su Min 00:05:46

Exactly right.

Jackie Yap 00:05:47

And so pragmatic. Yeah so these are great ideas, but let’s say I’m new to this or I’m halfway along this innovation journey, how do I actually build that capability that you talk about?

Claire Lim 00:06:04

Well, here in Capelle, we really have three different pillars that we look at to build that capability. First, we look at the right culture and mindset that an organization needs to have such a capability. Then we look at the skillsets in the people. And lastly, the systems and processes that govern the organization.

Jackie Yap 00:06:21

What kind of culture do they need?

Claire Lim 00:06:23

Thank you for that. So you know, we talk about innovation, it’s about ideas, about many ideas, and to have many ideas, to be unafraid to share these ideas, you need safety, psychological safety, and so it’s really about creating a culture of freedom, a culture where you’re not afraid to express and share ideas, and it’s really about the leadership team in place. The leaders need to set the right example, they need to respond accordingly, respond well to ideas, to failures, to mistakes.

Jackie Yap 00:06:51

So how do I as a leader encourage this kind of free flow of ideas?

Claire Lim 00:06:58

Wow, there’re so many different ways you can do it. You can do that by how you respond to people, you can do that through your platforms that you have in place. I think Su Min was sharing with me about how her company did this last time.

Su Min 00:07:09

So one of the companies I used to work for. The CEO actually chairs innovation meetings on a fortnightly basis. Yeah, so that’s where, a platform for us to share our ideas, to get his buy in, to get his approval and also to get his comments on whether we are going on the right track, but fortnightly is a big commitment.

Claire Lim 00:07:31

Big commitment indeed.

Jackie Yap 00:07:31

Yeah, that’s great, right?

Claire Lim 00:07:34

I can imagine how all this can really help build up a certain culture for an organization.

Jackie Yap 00:07:38

So Claire, earlier on you mentioned three things, culture, skills as well as process. So skills, what do we need?

Su Min 00:07:44

So Claire talked about having ideas, ideas are good and sometimes we need to have many ideas. So innovation is about having a certain level of vulnerability, to be able to have failure. But we also can take calculated risks. So how do we minimize that risk? It’s about having innovation that are data-driven.

Jackie Yap 00:08:08

What does that mean, to be data-driven?

Su Min 00:08:11

So it’s about understanding the needs of your customers. It’s not just having an idea from nowhere and there’s no basis for it, but really have a good ground by understanding how your customers feel or what they need, what are their pains, what are their gains, and how we could contribute to transforming their experiences or even creating new possibilities to add value to them.

Jackie Yap 00:08:32

Is there any tool that I can use to help me do that?

Su Min 00:08:35

Maybe let’s share an experience that we had worked on. So this organization came to us. They wanted to build an innovation culture and they specifically told us they wanted to build an insight-led innovation culture. So what we did was, we actually helped them to look into knowledge management system. But that is not the end, it’s about how we can use those data to help us make decisions. So how to translate those data into insights and how to also communicate those insights to spark innovation.

Jackie Yap 00:09:07

So it’s kind of like a funnel.

Su Min 00:09:09

Exactly, yeah, but now that you have all these data to inspire you to go on an innovation journey, then what’s next? So what we also had proposed was a tool, which is, design thinking. So the beauty of design thinking is it’s human centered. It starts from the needs of your customers. Start by understanding their needs and then start thinking about ideas, brainstorming ideas, and Claire, you have done a lot of brainstorming workshops. Maybe you could share with us some of your experiences.

Claire Lim 00:09:41

Oh yes, Su Min, actually I think what’s very critical for a successful brainstorming workshop is about having that psychological safety in a workshop. Recently we actually conducted one, and we noticed that the staff were very quiet. We tried to uncover a bit more, and realized that there was some fear based on how their bosses had responded to them in the past.
So what was so critical was a two-pronged approach. Number one with the staff, we worked with them on how they could present their ideas, how to pitch it, but with the bosses, we had an honest conversation with them on how they should respond to their staff, how they can create that openness and safety so that both parties could come together and really start this innovation journey.

Su Min 00:10:18

Wonderful, isn’t it?

Jackie Yap 00:10:20

Thank you. Yeah, and there’s another block that you were talking about, which is the process. Can you elaborate more on that?

Claire Lim 00:10:28

Actually, it’s really important when we talk about innovation that the culture and the skills are supported by the right systems and processes in an organization. So when we talk about systems in an organization, it is really ensuring that they are the right mechanisms to reward this behavior and it can be monetary or non-monetary, but what we really want to do is to celebrate with people. Whether or not it’s successful, the efforts they’ve made in innovation and on top of all this, we also want to ensure that people are supported in their journey, whether or not it’s ensuring that there are funding available for them, that there are processes in place to fast-track approvals that need it, or whether it’s having brainstorming sessions or reflection sessions to look back and to learn from your past experiences and improve for the future.
These are all so critical to be embedded and to be made into part of what your company does on a regular basis. It’s not just ad hoc.

Jackie Yap 00:11:23

Wow these are great ideas that we can all implement, culture, mindset, getting the right environment to generate ideas and experiment the skills, especially to use data to get insights, to help our customers and of course, processes.

Yeah, so for our listeners who are listening in, maybe you can share one insight or one tip, to people who really want to go on this journey. Or maybe, but you could even share what excites you about this.

Su Min 00:12:00

So I’m glad you talked about journey, so innovation is a journey. It’s not a one-off event. It has to be a journey that is journeyed with the rest of the organization. So continue to stay on this journey. It may not be a smooth journey, but it’s a worthwhile journey.

Jackie Yap 00:12:15

So that means it takes time.

Su Min 00:12:16

Exactly right, and perseverance.

Claire Lim 00:12:20

I think for me what’s very critical is that it’s insight-led, and these insights must come from your customers. So I think what’s really powerful about design thinking’s that you really walk in the shoes of the users and you get a chance to really hear what they’re feeling, what they’re thinking, and really, what matters to them? These insights are then so powerful in shaping the right solution like the chatbots or telemedicine. And all these things came from data. They were inspired by data.

Jackie Yap 00:12:48

Thank you and what I learned from today is that innovation doesn’t have to be big, it could be small, like the magnifying glass at the supermarket. So, thank you for joining us. Thank you Su Min and Claire. This is Capelle Livechat and we hope that you have found this conversation beneficial.

 

 

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