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LEAD Innovation Blog

Read our latest articles on innovation management and innovation in a wide range of industries.

Date: 04-Oct-2018
Posted by: Angela HENGSBERGER
Category: Innovation culture

How to create positive innovation culture


A company introduces innovation managers and product developers, builds innovation management, sets goals and budgets, and launches the first campaign. But it does not really work out. What's wrong? What is it like? The most likely answer: in the innovation culture.

Definition of organizational and corporate culture

In order to approach the culture of innovation, the concept of organization or enterprise culture is addressed.

Organizational culture is typical of an organization and encompasses the values, attitudes and norms, and determines the decisions and behavior of the organization's members. Many of the elements are not visible and unconscious. It evolves evolutionarily, which means that a targeted change is only possible systematically and with endurance.

Innovation culture as the foundation of innovation success

An innovation culture is therefore a corporate culture that promotes innovation. In practice, it means a positive attitude of the employees to the innovation where

Therefore, innovation culture should also be the top priority in innovation management, as it is the foundation of any successful innovation activity.

Paper Establishment of an innovation culture
If there is no profound innovation culture, innovations are only poorly and heartlessly supported and are thus doomed to failure. Because innovations have two basic problems in an organization:

    Firstly, they are always challenges for an organization, because they are associated with risks and changes and can cause resistance, albeit unintentionally.
    Secondly, innovation is the enemy of day-to-day business. Innovations claim resources that can not be invested in today's money earning.

These facts demonstrate that the success of an innovation depends on the behavior of employees. With a positive innovation culture these problems can be made up for and the way is free for the successful innovations.


Elements of an innovation culture

If you want to build a ship, do not drum up men to gather wood, assign tasks, and divide the work, but teach the men the longing for the vast, endless sea. "Antoine de Saint-Exupery

There is no slogan that makes the topic better. Innovation can not be commanded, innovation must be lived. This requires values and framework conditions that enable and promote it.

  • High value of innovation and creativity
  • Openness to something new heterogeneity
  • Trust in the employees
  • Free space and personal responsibility for employees
  • Risky optimism and optimism
  • Tolerance against errors
  • Incentives to promote innovation
  • Access to information and unlimited communication
  • Innovative structures such as flat hierarchies, quick decisions or rules
  • Teamfocus and networking

Resources for innovation

It is not enough to define these values and framework conditions and to put them on paper. They must be anchored in every head and be lived. This happens by actively shaping an innovation culture.

Creation of an innovation culture

There are many levers for shaping an innovative culture. The entire keyboard must be mastered and all measures must work hand in hand in order to achieve the desired innovation culture.

1. Common orientation

The basis is the what - what behavior does one wish for and is relevant to the success of the company? For all, it must be clear what the goal, the way and the expectation is. This is achieved through an innovation vision and innovation strategy.

  • The goals, rules, values and expectations are clearly defined and motivated.
  • Strong commitment and responsibility from the top to the bottom.
  • All activities must be aligned and contribute to the strategy.

2. Understanding & Competence

All employees need the understanding and competence for innovation, which is achieved through training and information initiatives on strategy, expectations, processes and tools.

3. Life

Leadership and leadership play a very important role, as it has to live through the values and take the necessary measures. The innovation values must be reflected in the management work, for example, that the boss makes sufficient resources available for innovations.

4. Do

Doing is the responsibility of all. The above-described values and framework conditions must be encouraged and demanded by the employees and above all by the management. This includes targeted measures, such as an incentive system, communication to innovation or engagement in projects.

Intrapreneurship - entrepreneurs instead of just employees

Employees are supposed to act as if they were the entrepreneurs themselves. And this is also a key prerequisite for innovation, which is called Intrapreneurship and stands for Intracorporate Entrepreneur:

Employees bring their own initiative and commitment to their entrepreneurial talents, their knowledge, their creativity and their wealth of ideas, and drive independent entrepreneurial innovations to success regardless of which department or position they belong to.

Driving intrapreneurship means that employees have great ideas and follow. This requires not only committed employees, but also a culture and framework conditions on the part of the company, that these employees can and should be allowed to develop. Therefore, the promotion of intrapreneurship is also part of the innovation culture work. Innovative culture eats strategy

"Culture eats strategy for breakfast" is a legendary saying by Peter F. Drucker. If culture is not a strategy, any effort in this direction is futile. If, for example, a company is to take the lead in innovation, but does not provide resources for radical innovations and does not allow risks and mistakes, the goals will never be achieved. The strategy must be adapted to the culture or the culture has to be changed so that it fits into the strategy and favors it.

Innovation is a mentality

"From today, we are innovative." This command does not work, because innovation can not be ordered or prescribed. Innovation is an attitude, a mentality in the workforce and can only be developed for years. Therefore the focus on the soft factors of an organization is the degree of innovation success.

Conclusion: how to create positive innovation culture

The innovation culture is gaining in importance because it is crucial for innovation productivity and innovation. It is a decisive competitive factor. If a company is to be successful in the long term, it can only be achieved with innovation. And successful innovation is based on a cultural foundation that is focused on the unconditional promotion of innovation. 

Establishment of an innovation culture


Born and raised in Vienna. Since 2012 she has been in charge of Business Development at LEAD Innovation with the functions marketing, sales and communication.

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