Comment créer une culture d'innovation dans une PME

How to Foster an Innovation Culture in Your SME: A Comprehensive Guide

Introduction to Innovation Culture

In a world where every business sector is in constant flux, innovation has become an indispensable tool for staying competitive. For SMEs, innovation is not just an option; it's a necessity for growth and longevity. An effective innovation culture can transform your business into a market-driving force. This article will delve into the key elements for establishing an innovation culture, how to measure its impact through indicators and KPIs, and share case studies of companies that have successfully cultivated an innovation culture.

Understanding the Key Elements of Innovation Culture


Leadership is at the heart of any effective innovation strategy. Leaders must not only serve as innovation role models but also create an environment conducive to innovation. This means encouraging calculated risk-taking and recognizing both successes and failures as learning opportunities. Leadership should also be capable of setting a company's strategic objectives, which include innovation initiatives.


Communication is the adhesive that binds an innovation culture. An effective communication strategy goes beyond mere corporate announcements; it establishes channels where ideas can be freely exchanged. Platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams can be utilized to create dedicated spaces for innovation. The role of communication channels in a successful innovation strategy cannot be underestimated.

Space for Experimentation

Innovation requires room for experimentation. This can range from a simple whiteboard in the break room to a complex internal innovation lab. The key is to provide employees with the resources and time needed to explore new ideas. Methods for fostering innovation may vary, but the important aspect is to allow for an agile approach to idea incubation.

Measuring an Innovation Culture


Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can vary from one company to another but could include metrics like the number of new ideas generated, the conversion rate of these ideas into projects, or even financial metrics like the ROI of innovation projects. The evaluation of ideas should be transparent and aligned with the company's strategic objectives.

Advanced KPIs

To delve deeper, more advanced KPIs could include metrics measuring employee engagement in innovation projects, or the percentage of revenue generated from new products or services launched through innovation initiatives. The course of innovation should be measured and adjusted based on outcomes.

Companies That Have Successfully Integrated an Innovation Culture

Google and the "20% Time"

Google is renowned for its innovation culture, notably due to its famous "20% Time," which allows employees to dedicate 20% of their time to personal projects. This policy has led to major innovations like Gmail.

3M and the Post-it

3M, the inventor of the Post-it, has also successfully cultivated an innovation culture by providing their employees with the time and resources needed to explore their own ideas.


Based in Montreal, Lightspeed is a point-of-sale software company that has emphasized innovation from its inception. They have created a work environment that encourages creativity and experimentation, leading to rapid growth and a successful IPO.

Workleap (formerly GSoft)

Also based in Montreal, Workleap, formerly known as GSoft, is another company that has successfully cultivated an innovation culture. Known for products like ShareGate and Officevibe, the company encourages its employees to take initiatives and work on projects that excite them.


CAE, a Montreal-based company specializing in simulation and training solutions for aviation, also has a strong innovation culture. They invest heavily in R&D and encourage a culture of continuous learning.

The Steps to Implementing an Innovation Culture

Step 1: Assessment and Planning

The first step to cultivate an innovation culture is to assess the current state of your company. This involves understanding where you stand in terms of innovation and where you wish to go. Once this assessment is complete, strategic planning can begin. This planning should align innovation objectives with the company's overall goals.

Step 2: Training and Awareness

The second step involves training and making your employees aware of the importance of innovation. This can be done through workshops, seminars, or even online courses. The aim is to ensure that every team member understands the value of innovation and how they can contribute.

Step 3: Implementing Support Mechanisms

The third step is to implement support mechanisms for innovation. This can include dedicated budgets, collaborative workspaces, or online platforms for idea sharing. The aim is to provide the necessary resources for innovation to thrive.

Step 4: Monitoring and Adjustment

The fourth step involves monitoring the KPIs and indicators you have set and adjusting your strategy accordingly. Innovation is not a static process; it requires constant adaptation and reevaluation.

Step 5: Celebrating Successes

The final step, but not the least, is to celebrate successes. Whether they are small victories or major accomplishments, it's important to recognize and celebrate achievements. This not only motivates the team but also reinforces the innovation culture.