Cherry Pick the Innovation Culture
Over the past decade, the business world has become ever more competitive and by trying to achieve a competitive advantage companies have tried to become more innovative. This supports the view of Mone et al. (1999) who say that being able to innovate through the good and bad is a source of competitive advantage.
To be innovative, or more innovative, the right organisational culture is vital. Mullins (2005) defines organisational culture as “The collection of traditional values, policies and beliefs and attitudes that constitute a persuasive context for everything we do in an organisation.” Simply put, this is the way an organisation behaves and interacts. We can see that culture has a huge influence on innovation as it has the ability to help or restrain innovation. Managers and leaders have the power to shape the culture so a lot of responsibility is on them, but that’s why they are there! Companies such as Apple, Facebook, Virgin have created an innovative culture, a culture where innovation is produced and encouraged.
Wycoff (2003) argues that a large majority of start-up firms fail due to the fact that they do not have an innovative culture. This is probably as they do not look forward and follow the trends of standardization and rationalisation. By acting in such a way these firms are basically following the crowd and if you do this it raises the question: How do you expect to gain a competitive advantage? You are less likely to come up with new ideas which simply put, will cause a firm to fail.
Schein (1992) believe that an innovation approach comes from leaders and managers. Managers set the missions and structure for a company to flourish. Continuing on Schien’s viewpoint I believe that managers must also make it a practice to create an innovative environment. This could be for example, making it part of an employee’s jobs to think and share about new ideas, small or large. (I appreciate the difficulty of this as employees may be struggling enough to reach their current goals)
A good example of this is Pixar, Inc. Just look at Pixar’s operating principles.
1. Everyone must have the freedom to communicate with anyone.
2. It must be safe for everyone to offer ideas.
3. We must stay close to innovations happening in the academic community.
These principles have set a truly innovative culture where as well trying to set an environment where employees share ideas it also states to be aware of current innovations which involves them so they can create ideas which are new and innovative.
I personally think that it is important that when start-ups for example try to create an innovative culture they should not always go to the extent of trying to be like Facebook, where it has such a flat hierarchical system because that is not how all companies run or can be run. Companies should try instead and embrace an innovative culture as whole.