It's Q4 and that means it is time to start planting the seeds for your purposeful new year's resolutions for your company.  Regardless of your industry or sector, diversity and innovation should be prioritized on your agenda.  These are essential components to the success of companies ranging from start-ups to those that are 100+ years old.  

Though 85 percent of people agree that diversity is crucial to fostering innovation at work,(according to the Center for American Progress) when you look around your office do you see that?  Not only is this a philosophical and ethical imperative, fostering diversity and inclusion leads to a 45 percent increase in market share. As you think about recruiting and plan your strategy for 2018 be mindful of the composition of your team, and also consider the formalization of programs or initiatives that encourage both diversity and community outreach. 

Beyond the physical make-up of your team what other tactics can you take to transform your culture in a positive way and design and dynamic were you have a funnel and channel for new ideas and investments and your employees feel they have the ability to thrive as individual contributors whose voices are heard and embraced by the business.

Innovation Challenges

Growth platforms, departments, or offices can ideate on a prompt defined by the business.  This is a excellent way to kick-start the new year.  The crowd votes on the best idea, and the best ideas rise to the top. Innovation Challenges tap into hidden or dormant intellectual capital and will drive both employee satisfaction and results.  A critical reminder is follow-through so winning ideas get the appropriate momentum behind them.

Acceleration Days

These are fast-paced, agile in-person days where groups meet to ideate on a prompt using Design Thinking activities and finish with a Shark Tank style presentation.  This methodology drives action and motivates business leadership to focus, stay decisive and put their money where there mouth is.  By bringing out the competitive nature within us all, acceleration days encourage and celebrate the intrapreneurs within any organization. 

Ventures Arm

Making an investment in and commitment to a ventures arm is a profound way to inspire, identify, incubate, and create a culture of mentorship around innovative solutions that drive a positive impact for your company. Through this program, owner should be prepared and quite willing to provide seed funding, follow-on investment, and/or coaching to accelerate product or platform development and go to market plans to launch and support them as well.

Developing an innovation mindset requires both discipline and rigor; it's not a once and done effort and there should be a thoughtful process of governance that delivers both consistency and follow-through on the side of before senior leadership and your employees.  It is also worth mentioning that innovation increases when the percentage of women managers in a company is above twenty percent, so keep unconscious bias in mind as well as your formulate your roadmap for 2018 and beyond.