In an economy that’s slowing down, how do you speed up? In this article, we break down the business case for creating a culture of innovation in your company and the benefits it can bring to you and your workforce. We also explore the barriers that many companies face and how you can overcome them.

Benefits of Creating a Culture of Innovation

With the rise in popularity of generative AI and other emerging technologies, individual employees can achieve much more with less. Companies with innovative cultures have a big competitive advantage and stand to gain the most from this movement.

Organisations included in the Innovation 1000 Report had, on average, 11% more revenue. At the same time, Deloitte found that companies with strong cultures of innovation see higher levels of employee engagement, productivity, and staff retention.

Companies that embrace innovation reduce their costs and unlock new revenue opportunities – all at a much faster rate than their competitors. It’s no surprise then that almost 79% of companies have “innovation” in their three top priorities.

But as far as execution goes, there’s still a gap. Only 6% of executives are happy with their companies’ innovation performance. And one-third of business leaders in the UK say they’re innovating enough to demonstrate revenue or any kind of measurable growth.

So, if the business case is clear, what is it that stops companies from creating cultures of innovation?

Barriers to Innovation at Large Companies

Leadership teams want innovation but they often don’t set their companies up for its successful execution. It’s the responsibility of the leadership team to create a culture of innovation throughout the entire organisation. But doing this requires a different approach.

According to Accenture, 82% of organisations admit to approaching innovation programs in the exact same way as they go about achieving any business performance programs. And of the companies that do have dedicated innovation strategies, more than half of executives still report trouble bridging the gap with the wider business strategy.

Without a clear proven process to test new ideas, companies tend to start from scratch each time they want to innovate. Some departments develop initiatives in isolation. Others will work backwards from a solution to find out how it might be usable by everyone, making it valuable to no one. Mistakes get repeated and projects get dropped without the people involved learning anything new.

This results in fewer new ideas being brought forward and less experimentation within the workforce. 40% of leaders admit to rejecting disruptive ideas because they’re afraid of failing.

To avoid falling into the same trap, you need a proven process with best practices in place. You need to set your team up for success.

How to Unlock Innovation within the Workplace

Here are three tried and tested ways which we’ve used to unlock innovation for our our clients.

Create a Shared Understanding 

Far too often, different departments have different ideas about who your customer is or what your employee experience entails. Without a shared understanding of your user journey and the objective frustrations faced throughout it, you can waste time and resources trying to create small wins or tackle low-priority problems.

By building and sharing a user journey map within your team, you’re able to align everyone behind the critical challenges faced by your users, the outcomes they want to achieve, and the delightful moments they want to experience. This makes sure everyone is aligned towards what’s going to create measurable growth.

Build an Innovation Playbook

Many businesses make the mistake of treating innovation projects the exact same way as any other initiative. Having a distinct, proven process in place for how to test new ideas is essential if you want to move fast and avoid repeating the same mistakes.

Giving different teams access to the same documented process, with examples of previous projects that used it, provides employees with a playbook for how to prove whether an idea will deliver the desired results. It inspires individuals, helping to reduce the fear of failure within your workplace.

Secure Resources

It’s no good having a process in place, though, if you don’t also have the resources to act on it. Testing new ideas fast requires design, development, product strategy, QA, and more. But often internal projects don’t get the priority and level of internal resources they need to push new ideas forward.

One of the benefits of working with a digital product agency like Sonin is you can access an entire product team with the experience of doing this for other companies, drawing from the specialist skills you need when you need them.

This means you can go from an idea to having a prototype in your users’ hands much, much faster. With the loop between a proposed solution and new learning being so short, you can encourage experimentation and foster a culture of innovation.

How to Create an Innovation Shortcut: A Case Study

At Sonin, we work closely with companies – from disruptive, funded startups to global brands – to help them build the best practices and processes that promote innovation and improve their customer and employee experiences. We’ve done this for more than a decade. Here’s how we recently helped one company unlock the benefits of innovation.

How Nursdoc Unlocked Innovation

Nursdoc, a subsidiary of the global recruitment group Galago, approached Sonin to overhaul its timesheet processing. As a fast-growing business that deals with tens of thousands of timesheets every month, Nursdoc’s leadership team was keen to become a faster, more efficient business that offered recruitment candidates and clients a better experience than the competition.

To do this, we gathered a small group of stakeholders closest to the candidate and client experience to map out the user journey from start to finish. We used impact effort mapping to agree on the ideas that would help Nursdoc to reduce the time it takes to process timesheets; which has a direct impact on candidate and client satisfaction. 

The solution, a bespoke timesheet processing app, led to a 67% reduction in timesheet processing steps. It’s now an essential part of how they run their business efficiently and effectively. Nursdoc now has a proven process and the resources it needs to unlock even greater productivity and efficiency gains.

Related Content: Read the full Nursdoc story.


If you’re looking to unlock innovation within your workforce you need a clear picture of your customer journey, a proven process in place to test new ideas, and the resources at hand to help you move fast.

At Sonin, everything we do is in pursuit of building the right product that’s going to deliver the right results – for you, your employees, and your customers. We do this by working with you during a discovery workshop to prioritise what’s going to have the biggest impact on your business goals. We then provide you with access to a fully fledged product team to build and test new and innovative ideas with minimal investment on your part.

Contact us today to kickstart your project and start building a culture of innovation within your workplace.

Read next: How to Create Change Within Your Company


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