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FedEx Delivers: How the World's Leading Shipping Company Keeps Innovating and Outperforming the Competition by Madan Birla

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Chapter 4

The Five Dimensions of an Innovation and Performance Culture

Throughout its quarter-century history, FedEx has continued to set standards for logistics and transportation services by which all others are judged. This reflects leadership of a high order that promises continued innovation for many years to come.

—Aaron J. Gellman, PhD, Director of the Transportation Center at Northwestern University, in How Time Flies, a publication celebrating FedEx's 25th anniversary, 1998

Historically, businesses seeking a successful future have relied on discovering the next “big idea”—often an accidental encounter with something great that will carry the company ahead. But to compete successfully and continue to grow in today's ever-changing business environment, companies must learn how to develop a thriving innovation culture—a continuous capacity for generation, acceptance, and implementation of creative ideas—inside the organization, as shown in Figure 4.1.

How does an organization get creative ideas? By continually generating lots of ideas and choosing the ones that address the problem(s) at hand, or that best take advantage of opportunities to fulfill changing customer needs. Where do the ideas come from? Ideas come from our minds. We do not have to make the mind think. That is what nature programmed it to do. However, many people become tense when they are asked for new ideas because the optimum conditions for creative thought are not in place. Who accepts and develops the ...

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