The Hard Truth about Innovative Cultures

by Gary P. Pisano

A CULTURE CONDUCIVE TO INNOVATION is not only good for a company’s bottom line. It also is something that both leaders and employees value in their organizations. In seminars at companies across the globe, I have informally surveyed hundreds of managers about whether they want to work in an organization where innovative behaviors are the norm. I cannot think of a single instance when someone has said “No, I don’t.” Who can blame them: Innovative cultures are generally depicted as pretty fun. When I asked the same managers to describe such cultures, they readily provided a list of characteristics identical to those extolled by management books: tolerance for failure, willingness to experiment, ...

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