We often write about the critical role that company culture plays in innovation here on the Apex. But we’re not alone. A recent article from KPMG also covered the topic, pointing to financial services in particular as an industry that is challenged to keep up with digital transformation, while also offering some helpful guidance. 

Indeed, many factors come into play when executing on a successful digital transformation initiative. Whether in financial services, healthcare, or energy, virtually every industry is rapidly changing for the digital age. Some factors to consider are getting the IT and business teams to work together and also the need to “acquire, partner, or invest” in technology. 

But there is one area that stands out as critically important to digital transformation. According to KPMG, “Culture…is the foundation upon which all successful innovation must be built.” We couldn’t agree more! And we’ve covered it before, including posts on why company culture matters and what leaders say about data culture

Not surprisingly, executive leadership plays a huge role. They are the ones that can truly bring about cultural change across the company, therefore they alone can have a huge impact on the success or failure of such a transformation. 

So, what can you do? 

According to KPMG, “Creating cultural change is about finding ways to connect with individual employees’ hearts and minds.”  Below is some great advice the article offers up on how to do this:

  • Communicate goals and expectations: Innovation often creates disruption, which can strike fear into your employees (e.g. artificial intelligence). Explaining how change fits within the broader business strategy and clearly communicating expectations for employees, as well as new opportunities, helps keep people informed and feeling included.  
  • Build capacity: Employees need time to be creative. Unfortunately, according to KPMG, this is nearly impossible with today’s culture of “busyness.” Leadership should give employees the time and space needed to develop new ideas by building more “free innovation time” into the workweek, as well as bringing cross-functional teams together to work on joint projects.
  • Embrace failure: Most employees fear failure, yet it’s a requirement for achieving meaningful innovation success over time. A culture that embraces trying new ideas—and failing—helps employees open up and offer new ways of doing things. Employees need to hear this directly from the CEO, according to KPMG. Setting innovation KPIs is another way to help drive new ideas and measure employee success, beyond more typical performance-based metrics.

No matter your industry, it’s important to understand how to digitally transform and the role culture plays in bringing about that change. Want to learn more? Read the complete KPMG article.