Culture of Innovation Is Vital to Success. (Business)

USA TODAY, December 2002 | Go to article overview

Culture of Innovation Is Vital to Success. (Business)


Business leaders know the problem well, Customer and market needs are in a constant state of change, You figure out what customers want on Monday, and by Friday they may want something else. Moreover, in the week in between, a hungry pack of competitors have taken your idea and run with it. So, if you're going to achieve and sustain a leadership position in a global marketplace that never sleeps, your firm must be a hothouse of creative thinking, flexibility, and agility.

"A culture of innovation can be a company's primary source of competitive advantage, and it can pay off steadily over the years," maintains Stephen Shapiro, author of 24/7 Innovation: A Blueprint for Surviving and Thriving in an Age of Change. "Any high-performance culture is difficult to replicate, but innovation is in a class by itself. Once embraced by employees, innovation becomes a way of life. It ensures that all the human capital is in step and striving to produce outcomes of value for the organization."

To create a culture of innovation, changes must be made in virtually all parts of an organization, from management style to measurement systems. Obviously, such transformations don't happen overnight. Here are five strategies some successful companies have utilized in creating innovative cultures:

Make everyone accountable. Because a few individuals at the top cannot possibly plan all of a company activities, give employees a set of rights, responsibilities, and rewards that make them accountable for their own actions.

Encourage employees to innovate and reward them accordingly. …

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