The Idea Log: without the culture, you don't get the yoghurt

Hi, I’m the Idea Log, Idealog's spirit 'animal'. Did you know wood products are New Zealand’s third biggest export earner? You did? Well, given your surprising knowledge of our industry sectors, you’ll also know that it is a low-value commodity. And speaking as a log, it’s also murderous and barbaric. So I’m here to propose a few new high-value ideas to help get our country’s A into GDP. This time, I'm helping you create an innovative culture. 

Let me blind you with some science.  Innovative organisations grow faster than non-innovative organisations. Duh! A study by US innovation consultancy Co:Collective showed that between 2007 and 2011, innovative companies grew revenue 60 percent faster, grew profit 120 percent faster and grew their company’s value 200 percent more than average companies. Added to that, another study showed the most innovative companies spend a third as much on paid media and get 15 times the amount of social media attention as the average. I know you want some of that action. But how do you get it? Well, as a wise man on LinkedIn once said, “it is impossible to be or become an innovative organisation unless and until the issue of culture is your first priority”. Sounds easy, right? Wrong, loser! Foosball tables, beanbags, inspirational posters and free tapwater just don’t cut it anymore. You need to up your cultural game with a combination of incentivisation and disincentivisation. So here are some easily implementable ideas. 

If you want to create a truly innovative culture, staff need to come with you on the innovation journey and make some sacrifices – literally. So force all new staff to slaughter a lamb on their desk, using only an iPad, before eating its still-beating heart. 

Pressure makes diamonds and staff are often surprised at how productive they can be when they’re stressed. It’s called the optimal anxiety curve. So put staff in a darkened room, tie them up, cut off all contact with their loved ones and waterboard them until they come up with a good idea. 

Slides and Xboxes are so passe. To inspire a truly innovative culture, you need to take it up a notch: create a full-blown in-office waterpark. 

Collaboration is key. And inspiration can strike at random. So, rather than a traditional brainstorm around the boardroom table every Monday morning, sound an alarm at irregular times and force teams to have a group shower (must have waterproof whiteboard markers). Everyone knows the best ideas happen in the shower.

Business is a battle. To show they understand this implicitly, all staff must bare-knuckle box a kangaroo before entering the building.  

Zuckerberg, Jobs, erm, Holmes ... They wore the same outfits every day, in part so they could focus on making important decisions. To create a similar mindset among staff, enforce a one outfit policy. Any breaches will be punished with a public whipping via turtleneck.

Speaking of clothes, casual Friday is a well-worn tradition. But there’s no build-up to get staff ready. That can be very confronting and stifles innovation. So implement a half-casual Thursday policy (party up top, business down below, or vice versa). 

Open plan offices are all the rage. But true innovators look at what everyone else is doing and do the opposite. That can mean only one thing: bring back cubicles to show that, sometimes, solitary work without human contact or natural light is the only thing that will bring results

Sometimes you need luck in business. So raffle a meatpack on the first Thursday of every month.