A 2007 McKinsey innovation report, based on a survey of nearly 1400 executives from around the world showed that the executives unanimously agreed (94%) that people and corporate culture were the most important drivers of innovation. In another major study of 759 firms across 17 major economies, “Corporate Culture” was found to be the primary driver of radical innovation (Radical Innovation Across Nations: The Preeminence of Corporate Culture, Journal of Marketing, Jan. 2009). Booz Allen has been surveying the Global 1000 firms and reporting on them since 2005. In their latest report (The Global Innovation 1000, Why Culture is Key, Issue 65, Winter 2011), they concluded:
“The elements that make up a truly innovative company are many: a focused innovation strategy, a winning overall business strategy, deep customer insight, great talent, and the right set of capabilities to achieve successful execution. More important than any of the individual elements, however, is the role played by corporate culture — the organization’s self-sustaining patterns of behaving, feeling, thinking, and believing — in tying them all together.”
Unfortunately, enterprise culture is a slippery concept. Scholars define it as the bundle of attitudes, experiences, values, norms, assumptions and beliefs embraced by managers and employees; these, in turn, guide behavior. Regrettably, these elements of the definition of culture are equally slippery, with the result that any executive who wants to create a culture of innovation will have no way to measure
the current culture; and without measurement, he or she will find it difficult, if not impossible, to identify a clear point at which to intervene and create positive change.
Recognizing this problem, in this book, I offer a model for capturing an innovative culture. I scoured the fields of organizational dynamics, leadership, behavioral science, corporate entrepreneurship and innovation to find theoretical frameworks and models that described organizational culture and culture of innovation. Specifically, I looked for instruments and assessment tools that were actionable; a primary need for all executives hoping to bring about change. In doing so, I found extensive research and models from academia, consulting firms and enterprises themselves, spanning over 30 years.