Thursday, August 25, 2011

What is a culture of innovation anyway?

Great overall discussion!!

"....To me, corporate culture is the set of assumptions, beliefs, practices, formal and informal rules and attitudes about how a company operates. Corporate culture evolves over time, and is both formal and informal. Corporate culture often shifts over time as well. Young entrepreneurial firms and startups have a culture that thrives on risk, speed and change. Growth is paramount. Older, established firms have a culture more typically based on rules, hierarchy, achievement of predictable milestones. While many firms have elaborately detailed organizational hierarchies and established workflows, corporate culture is often much more informal, and more powerful than any individual, and often more powerful than senior executives appreciate or expect.In an organization with a strong corporate culture, people learn to fit in quickly, adjust their thinking to the predominant culture or are quickly ostracized. Corporate culture, more than any other factor, details how people think, what they believe is important and valuable, and dictates how work should get done. It is difficult to change, especially under duress, and often communicates much about the values and intentions of a business. For a blog post, that’s as far as I’ll go to define culture. There are plenty of other resources that, given time and space, will do a better job defining culture.......If corporate culture is as overarching and powerful as I’ve described above, if it can dictate how people think and what people do, then culture is clearly either a significant barrier to innovation or a significant enabler to innovation......A culture of innovation, therefore, indicates that an organization is at least willing to embrace many of the tools and techniques that innovation requires, but moreover is able to endure the potential outcomes. For every innovation success there are many attempts and several failures. Every innovation is potentially cannibalizing an existing product or service, and innovation forces constant change – not just to products and services, but to experiences and business models. This means that a culture of innovation is agile, nimble, constantly adapting and learning, open to experimentation and many points of view. A culture of innovation tolerates and learns from failure, incorporating the best parts of the failure into new efforts. A culture of innovation understands that innovation is a continuous, consistent process rather than an occasional effort. A culture of innovation seeks out internal and external viewpoints and perspectives that are different from what the team “wants” to hear, and works closely with customers, partners and even the disinterested to understand future needs. A culture of innovation has as much invested in understanding the future as it does in delivering value in the present. A culture of innovation constantly generates ideas but also has the ability to commercialize the best ideas and ships valuable products. A culture of innovation isn’t just an idea machine, it is a commercialization machine."

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