Chapter 12

Designing an Innovative Culture

Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.

—Albert Einstein

I have stressed how important culture is to productivity. But ultimately, innovation is the enduring source of competitive advantage. Innovation is an outcome, a by-product of the culture you build, which, as I have stressed, is a result of thoughtful design.

Therefore, culture is the crucible in which the social chemistry of your organization crystallizes into a positive and supportive environment or one that is negative and poorly suited for creative work. It is the social environment that drives mood, sentiment, and desire and, if designed right, unlocks innovation. People can devote their emotional energy to productive (creating) or unproductive (worrying) activity. It is your call.

The innovation recipe is simple to describe. Build a bright, energetic, and creative team, develop a supportive culture, and grow deep institutional experience so there is abundant knowledge to drive creative innovation. On the surface it sounds simple, but the transformation takes time to complete, so stick with it, knowing patience is rewarded.

To transform your organization’s innovation quotient (the other IQ), I am going to review the steps you can take to foster the creativity you desire. Although I recommend a series of steps, they aren’t set in stone, and should be addressed based on situational needs. Also, these activities should ...

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