Innovation and Corporate Culture

If “Greed” was the buzz of the 1980s and “Change” was the buzz of the 1990s, the buzz of the current decade must be “Innovation.” Journals, books, and consultants abound on how your organization needs to meet the challenge of innovation or die. But what is it, exactly? And how does a corporate culture change to embrace this way of thought?

Robert Price, a contributing author to Organizational Dynamics, identifies four components of organizational cultures supportive of innovation in his article Infusing Innovation into Corporate Culture.

The first characteristic is awareness. Innovative organizations are intentionally curious about their product, their market, and how they do their work. They are continually looking for new opportunities to improve and develop.

The second characteristic is intense motivation. Truly innovative organizations do not pursue opportunities because of external incentives. Rather, the employee base pursues goals because of an intense intrinsic desire to improve.

The third component is having employees who possess the skills and competence to implement the new vision. For organizations who want to grow innovation as a competency, it means attracting, selecting, and developing people around innovative thinking.

Finally, the infrastructure of the organization must support innovation. Systems, processes, goals, and expectations must all include elements that allow innovation to thrive. Nothing is more frustrating to the creative process than setting the expectation of innovation but having none of the support mechanisms in place to support it.