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Corporate Culture’s Role in Innovation

Inno

One of my all time favorite quotes is – “Culture eats strategy for lunch” by Peter Drucker.

It resonates with me for many reasons – but hits closest to home around the idea of innovation.

I hear a lot of businesses talk about how innovative they are or how they are approaching innovation at an enterprise level. They’re preparing for the future – looking ahead at how they might ride the next trend, or even get out ahead of it.  They’ve got an “innovation” team, so clearly they’re set up for success. Right?

Not so fast.

Successful innovation doesn’t begin with a team that is responsible for the ideation and execution of new ideas.  It begins with a corporate culture that is ready and willing to embrace innovation. They are open to new ideas, challenge each other (respectfully of course), collaborate, and take calculated risks.  Corporate culture is not an easy thing to change. But without a culture that embraces the above characteristics, your journey to be an innovative company will face headwinds on a consistent basis. Even the greatest of strategies can fall victim to a poor corporate culture.

While you mull over where your organization sits on the culture continuum, here are a few tips that can at the very least be directional as your business looks to be more innovative.

  1. Include everyone. Encourage all parts of the business to innovate – not just the “innovation” team. Great ideas can come from anywhere – including the front lines. [Nice use case for enterprise social collaboration tools right here].
  2. Live in beta. Be open to testing new programs and ideas all the time. Use these betas to learn. A lot.
  3. Fail fast. Not all of your ideas will work out.  Quickly identify why your idea is not working, course correct or scrap it and move on.

Do you have other ways that you or your company view innovation?  I’d love to hear how you approach the topic.

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/99UsVX


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