How Can You Create A Culture Of Innovation?

Five thought leaders share how they foster innovation inside the four walls of their organizations.

How Can You Create A Culture Of Innovation?

by Kristine Hamlett

Posted on 01-16-2020

Innovation is more than just marketing jargon. It’s about risk-taking, transformation, and cultivating a corporate culture rooted in experimentation and discovery. Backed by creative thinking, it’s how breakthroughs in products, processes, and services are created. Innovation ensures a brand is constantly on the cusp of something bigger.

In this installment of CMO Wants To Know, we asked five thought leaders how they foster innovation inside the four walls of their organizations.

Anita Covelli, VP, aliances, DemandGen

In my career, I have seen three key elements that help organizations foster a culture of innovation. It starts with the hiring process. I look for candidates who are naturally curious, willing to think big, and aren’t satisfied with the answer, ‘That’s how we’ve always done it.’ Next, innovative companies create space for their teams to explore new concepts and technologies. New ideas don’t thrive when everyone is 100% consumed by the task at hand. And, most importantly, make it abundantly clear to your team that it is OK to fail. Not every idea is going to be a home run, so encourage your team to put themselves out there and focus on learning from the concepts that don’t pan out.

Mark Taylor, SVP & global practice leader, Cognizant

Developing and driving a culture of innovation is closely connected to fostering a culture of curiosity. I have seen this time and again throughout my career. This culture of curiosity relies on people who are passionate about listening to the consumer while paying close attention to changing market dynamics. Empowering those people at the cultural level will naturally lead to new ideas, approaches, and products that meet shifting customer expectations and deliver meaningful enterprise value.

PJ Utsi, cheif creative officer & co-founder, Vaimo

Execution is as important as ideation. Ideas are everywhere; all of us have them—some more often than others, of course. And, naturally, some are fantastic and some are not. The challenge is that it’s hard to determine the value of an idea without executing it, and many great ideas are lost because they never make it out of the ideation phase. I think that the secret to creating a culture of innovation is supporting execution. When people see that great ideas are not only celebrated but brought into reality too, then more will come.

Erik Larson, Digital and emerging technology leader, EY

In our research and experience alike, innovation is core to a digital, experience-driven business. Leaders drive innovation through ecosystem partnerships and invest in those relationships more than laggards. Leaders also power their innovation and business agility by leveraging data, streamlining management hierarchy, and deploying agile methods in a formal manner.

Nidal Haddad, US ecosystems & alliances leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Recent Deloitte research with the MIT Sloan Management Review found that digitally maturing companies are innovating by organizing employees in cross-functional teams. Operating via cross-functional teams allows for enhanced access to resources for innovation, such as diverse perspectives, broader skill sets, and new ideas. Additionally, our research found that compared to early-stage businesses, digitally maturing organizations are more than twice as likely to form an ecosystem of partnerships that addresses both short-term and long-term objectives of innovation.

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