Breathing Innovation

What does it take to encourage innovative behaviours in your organisation? Is it the ability of leadership teams to empower, enthuse and encourage; or perhaps it’s down to an organisational structure which enables collaborative solutions to be created?

Whatever your initial answer was, it’s a fair bet that it wasn’t simply the provision of improved air quality. But researchers at Harvard have shown that improving air quality can significantly increase cognitive ability. So much so, that those tested in a green building environment with enhanced ventilation scored 101% better than when tested in a more traditional office setting.

Commenting on the results United Technologies Chief Sustainability Officer, John Mandyck said the results show that green buildings can…

“become important human resource tools for all indoor environments where cognitive abilities are critical to productivity, learning and safety.”

It’s an important lesson for all those who are tasked with building a culture of innovation in their organisation. We may talk about the need to change systems and processes, we may counsel on the benefits of providing strategic leadership, or of working with people to enhance their ability to communicate or collaborate in a search for innovative solutions; but when we look at the people aspect of innovation then we should not neglect the part which environment plays in enhancing innovation aptitudes.