Creating a culture of innovation at your chamber of commerce can be a legacy and help you radically change perceptions of your organization. But what does that entail, how do you do it and how does it help you better serve your members and community?
A chamber culture of innovation is a culture that supports and encourages the development of new ideas and approaches to serving chamber members and the community. This type of culture is characterized by a willingness to experiment, a commitment to continuous improvement, and a belief that new ideas are the key to staying ahead of the curve. It’s often attributed to Silicon Valley and the tech industry, but a culture of innovation means you’re always looking for new ways and opportunities to better the chamber and the value you provide your members.
Chambers that are innovative are better able to meet the changing needs of their members and to develop new programs and services that benefit the community. With chamber membership no longer being an “next step” post business opening, showing the value the chamber brings is essential to recruitment and retention.
Creating a culture of innovation is not something you can do overnight. There is no innovation switch. And you must be prepared to be met with a lot of resistance. But there are many benefits to creating a culture of innovation in a business, including:
Your member businesses know the importance of innovation and staying ahead of the competition. They have done a lot of pivoting over the past three years. The chamber’s competition is not likely another business but someone choosing not to join. By creating a culture of innovation, you’re giving members additional value and more reason to join.
Members are always looking for new and value. By being innovative, you can meet the changing needs of your members and help them with activities and resources they may not have access to on their own. By adopting a culture of innovation, you are also leading by example.
Employees are more likely to be engaged and productive in a workplace that values innovation. When employees feel like they are encouraged to think outside the box and come up with new ideas, they will be motivated and invested in their work, not to mention feeling pride in the contributions they are making. They will feel like they are working toward the betterment of the community and that can make everyone feel good about their job.
The best and brightest employees want to work for companies that are innovative. This can put your chamber at a hiring disadvantage if you have been doing things the same way since the 90s. By creating a culture of innovation, chambers can attract and retain top talent.
Innovation can lead to increased profitability in several ways. For example, you can develop new non-dues revenue streams by introducing new services. Additionally, you can improve existing resources and services to increase member satisfaction and loyalty. Innovation can also help you to reduce costs and operate more efficiently.
Adopting a culture of innovation likely fits into achieving components of your strategic plan. You can leave a legacy in the community in several ways such as:
But where do you start? Do you wake up one day and say, we’re going to be an innovative chamber? Not exactly.
Here are a few tips and best practices for creating a culture of innovation in your chamber:
Establish a process for evaluating and implementing new ideas. This will help to ensure that the chamber is investing in the right innovation initiatives.
Here are some examples of how chambers are innovating in areas that you’re likely working on too:
The Lake County Chamber has been hosting a student manufacturing expo for a decade now. Their Think Manufacturing Career Expo invites, parents, teachers, career counselors, and others to learn more about manufacturing companies that are hiring, hear from young people in the profession, and explore the opportunities in manufacturing.
The Tompkin County Chamber of Commerce partnered with the US Green Chamber of Commerce to create a manual of sustainability best practices as a resource for their member businesses.
The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce went all in to build a reputation on innovation and created a Technology & Innovation Committee geared toward creating “a networking environment that adds value to committee members, the technology industry and business community,” being “a catalyst of the Greater Miami technology and innovation ecosystem through meetings, networking opportunities and specific initiatives, and providing programming that is relevant, interesting and informative to a diverse group of stakeholders.
We value your privacy and will never sell your info