Is Your Corporate Culture Innovation Ready?

Innovation in business is not only the lifeblood of our society (as American as baseball and SUV’s)  it is the legacy every leader dreams of.

And corporate culture is the innovation power source. Corporate culture innovation requires a different set of behaviors than the risk-averse cultures of most corporate environments – but too often, today’s cultures are built for sprints, not endurance (quarterly profit returns don’t reward the same behaviors that produce innovation).

Recent research by Cutter Business Technology Council, an internationally recognized expert in research, analysis, and case studies for the IT field, reports:

“For the past 15 years, operational excellence has been the management mantra.  Operational excellence is expected, like quality. Now, the new cry is for innovation, creativity, the ‘wow’ factor! However, this requires a real shift in the value system and the basic business culture that have been nurtured to support the quality and operational excellence movements,” says Cutter Consortium Fellow, Christine Davis.

Attention leaders: With the right approach, the American dream of creative, passionate innovators can be rejuvenated in your company from the CEO to the janitor. That’s what the great companies like Apple, 3M and Starbucks have done.

The principles in corporate cultures that drive innovation are universal, regardless of national expression. In 20 years of interviewing clients and working with companies across the globe to remove the barriers to expansive, creative thinking, we have found five critical success factors which are predictive of organizations with highly innovative corporate cultures:

  • They have a robust talent strategy
  • They have a unique risk strategy
  • They employ specific ground rules for teamwork and meetings
  • They share certain types of information openly and often
  • They measure success through activity metrics.

For more detail of these five success factors, see our website tool,  Five Tips for Corporate Cultures of Innovation.

Every person in your company has creative ideas to serve customers better. Your job is to shine the light on them,  and create an environment where the best of them can take hold.

Lisa Jackson is a corporate culture expert and co-author of 2 books including the brand new “Culture Builder Toolkit: A Step-by-Step Guide for Assessing and Changing Corporate Culture.”  She specializes in teaching companies and leaders how to align and transform their corporate culture to maximize profitable growth, productivity, and innovation. 

For free tools and resources on culture change, visit or follow her on Twitter at




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