The Ingredients of Great Innovation Culture

by George Krasadakis

George Krasadakis is the author of ‘The Innovation Mode’ and a hands-on Technology & Innovation Leader and Corporate Advisor on Innovation & Technology. He has more than two decades of experience in tech startups, big-technology companies, and consulting firms -including Microsoft and Accenture’s Global Center for Innovation. George has extensive experience in innovation leadership — he has architected various innovation frameworks, set up innovation labs, designed and built ideation systems, established digital prototyping teams, and architected large-scale innovation gamification programs. His expertise spans digital product development, software engineering, data science, and innovation leadership. He has filed more than 20 patents on Artificial Intelligence, Analytics, and IoT and has led more than 80 data-driven software projects from concept to launch, for more than 10 multinational corporations in three countries. George is the founder of 4 technology startups.

A great culture of innovation can be thought of as a special, collective mindset that values and promotes curiosity(exploration of new ideas) and change (adoption of new ideas) as key success factors for the organisation — holistically. It is a system of values and principles that breaks the organisational silos and hierarchical barriers by inspiring and empowering people and teams to collaborate effectively toward a big organisational purpose.

As I explain in the Innovation Mode, the ‘system of values’ of the innovation culture is based upon six principles, namely Trust, Safety, Openness, Curiosity, Purposefulness, and Healthy Competition. When these principles are there — as part of the ‘operating system’ of the organisation — people tend to be more open, creative, and efficient; they engage more with the innovation process, they are proactive, they share their ideas, and contribute to others’ ideas in constructive and creative ways. At the same time, the leadership is also more open, accessible, and collaborative — they engage with innovation activities, they provide direct and constructive feedback and they accept failure as part of the innovation process. You will know that a great innovation culture is there when there is a “one team” mentality — the feeling of a single ‘force’ working toward a bold organisational purpose. When this level of innovation culture is achieved, the entire organisation engages with innovation in various ways — formal or informal — and there is a growing, influential, self-organising innovation community.

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