Growth rises with innovation strategy

Involving employees and pursuing a strategy of innovation has reaped
spectacular growth for British firms, industrialist Nigel Crouch told the
conference.

Crouch, head of the DTI’s Innovation Unit and a judge in Personnel Today’s
Awards, reported how firms as diverse as Pfizer, Ragdoll Productions and
Dolland & Aitchison have dramatically boosted sales and profits through
innovation.

"When we asked our ‘living innovation’ companies, ‘What is it like to
work here?’, they invariably talked about openness and trust. People are
listened to, there is a friendly atmosphere, people work hard but also have a
lot of fun," he told delegates.

Dolland & Aitchison’s sales growth was prompted by an innovative reward
programme, Crouch said. The retailer lets staff nominate a fellow employee for
an "Incredible colleague award". The prize is a "Jim’ll fix
it"-style day out, courtesy of the company, such as driving a racing car
around Silverstone.

Firms must have a genuinely "blame-free" culture, where taking
risks is encouraged. "I am not talking here about organisations which
claim to be blame-free, until someone gets it wrong and gets their legs cut off
– or worse," Crouch said.

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