March 8, 2022

Driving Innovation With OKR Culture

schedule 3 min
Driving Innovation With OKR Culture

Organizations have been massively investing time, management, and money to innovate, yet innovation remains a frustrating pursuit. More than often, innovation initiatives fail. Successful innovators, including Nokia, Polaroid, Yahoo, and many others, find it hard to sustain their performance. The lack of an innovation strategy causes problems with innovation improvement efforts. You must understand that your organization needs an effective structure to improve and innovate continuously, and OKRs help structure your teams. The OKR system for goal-setting enables organizations to break down their complex objectives and measure progress. When used efficiently, objectives and key results instill creativity, collaboration, and innovation throughout your organization.

Want to embrace an OKR culture in your organization to further innovation? Explore how leaders and managers leverage OKRs to inspire their teams.

How Embracing an OKR Culture Boosts Innovation

Ambition is the Key

Ambition is the driving force behind innovation, where innovation pertains to pushing boundaries and exploring interesting yet effective ways to do things. When OKRs act as stretch goals, they become the moonshot goals that motivate us to strive for the best. Innovation and OKRs thus go together. Objectives and key results enable employees to take up more significant and exciting goals and continuously work in that direction without losing enthusiasm for the overarching organizational goals. An OKR doesn’t tell how an employee should work; instead, it focuses on pushing his boundaries to achieve real growth. Written OKRs encourage employees to achieve bigger goals than just excelling at their regular tasks.

Pro tip: While encouraging your employees to set individual OKRs, discuss how their key results contribute to the organizational vision. Track and measure the OKR progress of your employees weekly, monthly, or quarterly using OKR software, ensuring they accomplish bigger goals.

Team Alignment Does it all

There is no innovation if there is no team alignment. Let’s say your employees aren’t aligned well with your team and organizational goals; this disconnect obstructs innovation. When the employees know the “why” behind the “what,” they become focused and aligned. Doing so drives the organization towards attaining the larger goal. OKRs thus get everyone on the same page. Teams are well-aware of what they are doing, why they are doing it, and how their key results align with the organization’s objectives. When everyone in the organization moves towards the company’s strategic goals, innovation is bound to happen.

Pro tip: Regroup and re-educate everyone in the organization, including managers.
Your employees should not forget their objectives and key results or how these OKRs connect to your organizational strategy.

OKRs Aligning Teams

A Colony Depicting How OKRs Align Teams

Ownership Rules the Roost

OKRs cannot drive innovation if your team is not creating the page. When employees develop a sense of ownership over their work or control over how they contribute to the organization’s objectives, they become more engaged, feel valued, and push their boundaries to innovate better. It motivates them as they are contributing to the broader organizational goal. A good idea, here, can be to host an all-hands meeting. In this meeting, you can discuss your organizational goals and then send a feedback request to teams to gain their insights on effective OKRs, thus meeting your company’s goals.

Pro tip: Involve your team in the process of creating OKRs to lend them a sense of ownership. Once they own their work, they will have the necessary drive, commitment, and creativity crucial for innovation.

Agility is Crucial

Objectives and key results take care of long-term strategy and short-term tactical plans, making it easy for OKRs to spin and refocus when there is a change within your organization or the industry. Typically, OKRs are set up monthly or quarterly. Your business is thus agile enough to adapt and respond to the dynamic environment. As OKRs take an outcome-based approach and not an output-based approach, your business should move in the direction that makes the maximum impact on it.

Pro tip: Plan for shorter sprints of focused behavior, reflect, and reset with OKRs bringing agility to your organization. It is a good business practice to adapt to the changing business dynamics quickly and easily.

Reality Meets the Eye

Real innovation takes place only when your organization has a vision and results. Through effective implementation of OKRs, you lessen the gap between big-picture goals and what you must do to accomplish those goals. As objectives and key results break down your organization’s vision into measurable, actionable strategies, they lay down a roadmap for innovation. Managers and corporate leaders must complete OKR exercises in particular timeframes and cadences, split into high-level annual OKRs, quarterly tactical OKRs, and weekly check-ins to review and track results. Besides, your OKR actions must also nest into one another. Only then can weekly check-ins relate to quarterly OKRs and back to annual OKRs.

In a Nutshell

To stay competitive and emerge as an effective organization, it is critical to inspire innovation. OKRs act as a practical tool to ignite innovation and lay down a clear path to move your company from where it is currently to where you want it to go. Contact our OKR experts to realize the intangible, complex innovation idea quickly and effectively.