What is the context of an innovation culture?
An innovation culture does not exist in a vacuum. It is sandwiched between two other organizational design components. The innovation culture lives within the larger innovation system – the enduring processes and practices that govern resource allocation and decision making in innovation.
Picture the innovation system as the eggshell protecting the egg inside. This allows in plentiful oxygen from the outside. The innovation culture is like the fluid, the eggwhite, that protects and nurtures the employees. And finally, we have the innovation talent of the employee, the embryo, that works within that culture day-to-day.
This article will focus on innovation culture. But let’s be clear – despite the immense value of the innovation system and culture, they are necessary but not sufficient elements to systematically produce innovation. At the end of the day, it is the employees who do the innovating. The culture and system guide and support them.
Let’s explore this metaphor further, and envision these three components like an egg:
- The innovation system is like the shell of the egg, the enduring processes and practices that support the culture.
- The innovation culture is like the white of the egg, protecting and nourishing the yolk within.
- The raw innovation talent of employees is the yolk – without which, nothing is ever born.
The Context of an Innovation Culture
We will address the six dimensions of a strong innovation system and how to identify your innovation talent in other articles. For now, let’s hone in on the eggwhite, the innovation culture: