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Creating a Culture of Innovation

Updated: Jan 6, 2022

Top 10 elements that make up a culture and climate of innovation

  • Deconstruct silos of complacency

Change perceptions and challenge fundamental beliefs about the product or service portfolio can bring about a sense of awareness of hidden possibilities (Capozzi, Dye, & Howe, 2011). Current explicit and tacit knowledge embedded in the workforce can be buried in the day to day routines and related groups, teams or departments that must be encouraged out of their comfort zone.

  • Seek to ask as well as answer provocative questions

An inquisitive environment embraces debate, which as Isaksen and Ekvall (2010) described as an “exchange of different or opposing point of view”. Dyer, Gregersen, and Christensen (2009) prescribed questions that innovators should be asking, “why, why not, and what if?” to create an innovative culture.

  • Leverage the influence of associations

A culture and climate of innovation should facilitate connecting diverse ideas, issues, and inquiries to produce new perspectives and assist innovators in generating disruptive ideas (Dyer et al., 2009).

  • Construct boundaries for innovation

Effective brainstorming enhances the usefulness and diversity of innovative ideas in a culture and climate of innovation (Coyne, Clifford, & Dye, 2007). Apply innovative thinking directly toward areas of need and impact to preserve precious time and effort that otherwise will be wasted on fruitless and irrelevant initiatives (Capozzi et al., 2011).

  • Become comfortable with being uncomfortable

Cultures and climates of innovation will become more resilient as it welcomes and celebrates failure. McGrath, (2011) described approaching innovation through predetermined collapses, controlled experiments of non-conformance.

  • Develop mechanisms of transforming hypotheses to intelligence

Dyer et al., (2009) referenced experimenting as a method of exploring phenomena to elicit insights. Avoid confirmation bias by revealing disconfirming information early in your experimentation process (McGrath, 2011).

  • Fail fast and fail often

An innovative culture and climate treat cost savings, causation, and the critical path as key nuggets that can be wrung from fast and often failures (McGrath, 2011). Devise innovative pipelines with ubiquitous methods of extracting pertinent information from innovative initiatives that may not have feasibility in the (commercial or relevant) market

  • Limit downside risks

As discussed in element #4, Capozzi, Dye, and Howe (2011) recommended innovative cultures framing innovative projects even to the extent of limiting resources, risks, finanical outlays even uncertainty (McGrath, p. 6, 2011). Embrace the experimentation mentality combined with processes and tools that support rapid testing early in the process (McGrath, 2011)

  • Seek input and feedback

Cultures of innovation rarely obtain breakthrough perspectives within their own networks. Leveraging other disciplines, different industry expertise and social environments can provide the necessary inspiration to spark idea generation (Dyer et al., 2009). Diversification of sources for a comprehensive perspective and reducing risk (Dyer et al., 2009; McCreary, 2010)

  • The power of consistency is manifested repetition

A climate of innovation will embrace and execute the previous elements with purpose, commitment, and accountability on a regular basis (Dyer et al., 2009).


Capozzi, M. M., Dye, R., & Howe, A. (2011). Sparking creativity in teams: An executive's guide. McKinsey Quarterly, 74-81. Retrieved from

Coyne, K. P., Clifford, P. G., & Dye, R. (2007). Breakthrough thinking from inside the box. Harvard Business Review, 85(12), 1-10. Retrieved from

Dyer, J. H., Gregersen, H. B., & Christensen, C. M. (2009). The innovator's DNA. (cover story). Harvard Business Review, 87(12), pp. 60-67. Retrieved from

Isaksen, S. G., & Ekvall, G. (2010). Managing for innovation: The two faces of tension in creative climates. Creativity & Innovation Management, 19(2), 73-88. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8691.2010.00558.x

McCreary, L. (2010). Kaiser permanente's innovation on the front lines. Harvard Business Review, 88(9), pp. 92-97. Retrieved from

McGrath, R. G. (2011). Failing by design. Harvard Business Review, 89(4), pp. 76-83. Retrieved from

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