How to Develop A Culture of Innovation

Executive Summary

Innovation involves people and getting people to share and develop ideas together. Through these interactions, a group or enterprise develops its own unique culture. Culture, in turn, plays a fundamental role in determining if and how fast organizations can transform and respond to external shifts.  Increasing an organization’s innovative culture will take time and can be done with little steps along the way.  The ultimate purpose in developing a culture of innovation in an organization is to maximize productivity and create a space where leaders can facilitate unorthodix thinking and cultivate its application.



Spring2 Innovation Strategies
Awareness, recognition, collaboration, and cross pollination all contribute to creating a more innovative culture.
  • Putting focus and attention on innovation is essential. This needs to be articulated at all levels. It’s even more helpful if employees at all levels understand how innovation applies to their jobs and how they can contribute to innovation.
  • Rewarding people for bringing forward, building on top of and implementing innovative ideas helps get the idea across that innovation is a priority for the organization.
  • Creating environments where employees want to contribute ideas involves removing silos and territories. This can be done through focusing teams and groups on resolving common problems together. Increasing networking and encouraging movement within the organization will increase understanding of other departments’ perspectives and create bonds across departments. 
  • When employees know and respect counterparts in other parts of the organization barriers to collaborating, discussing challenges and resolving challenges are lowered.
  • The idea of cross-pollination is to bring these people together, allowing their knowledge and skills to influence each other. Cross-pollination can expose employees to different ideas and new ways of thinking.


Part of creating a culture of innovation and increasing collaboration includes implementing technology to assist in working together, identify processes and tools for collaborating and sharing ideas, and creating facilitated sessions centered on developing ideas or solving challenges.


Questions for Leaders to Ask

How can senior leadership ensure innovation that goes beyond the generation of a couple of new ideas and turn that into a strategic, guiding principle that touches every part of the company? Here are six questions to ask yourself:

  1. How is the need to innovate being communicated to everyone within your organization?
  2. What processes are in place so you are hearing from all levels in the organization?  Really dig into this – for example, is open door policy really being adhered to?
  3. What technology tools are you using to collaborate?
  4. Is there more than one tool and does your organization know when to use each tool?
  5. How can you contribute to increasing collaboration in the organization?
  6. Where does your organization’s culture on the scale below?



Four elements for creating a culture of innovation within a company are:

  • Creating connections to engender a "collaborative capacity."
  • Disruption of new perspectives.
  • Leaders have to intrigue people.
  • Establish a purpose that holds the company together.


Creating a culture of innovation - Tammy Erickson


There are many ways in which innovation can be hard-wired into a culture in order to produce the highest levels of employee engagement and bottom-line success. Game-changing, innovative ideas can come from the unlikeliest of places, but only in environments that embrace and encourage diverse thinking—essentially, cultures of innovation.

Building a Culture of Innovation


Further Reading