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Strengthen 5 Dimensions of Your  Culture for Innovation and Revitalization

Strengthen 5 Dimensions of Your Culture for Innovation and Revitalization

We all feel it and know it: life and work as we’ve known them are over.

The rules of the game have changed and will continue to evolve.

We can never fully go back to “how things were.”

We’re in a liminal space– an in-between space– where we’ve left the relative certainty of our habitual world but not yet “arrived” at what I call the “Next New Normal.” It’s a space where we can go back and forth from constrictive fear and frustration to collaborative compassion and enthusiasm.

I’m reminded of a story that Frank Carrubba, former VP of HP Labs, once told me. He wanted his executive team to experience what it means to “manage” the risks it took to maintain industry leadership. So he had them join in a set of team-building exercises – one of which involved climbing a 30’ pole with a safety harness on and then standing on a 12” disk at the very top (with nothing to hold on to!).

Just out of reach was a trapeze bar suspended 30’ off the ground. Each executive had to jump off the disk to catch the bar, and then be lowered to the ground. (If they missed the bar, they’d be safely lowered by their safety harness.)

Frank wanted them to experience that moment when they had left the disk– and couldn’t go back– but hadn’t yet caught the bar. That was the liminal space of taking a conscious risk.... being committed to going forward, with no going back.

Every leader is facing such a moment. In fact, that kind of moment is native to the Next New Normal. The way forward is to take the leap. And not just in your business strategy, but in the entire way you think about your organizational culture.

A critical key for your company’s continuous rejuvenation is to evolve – even transform – your organizational culture to embody and enable Human-Centered Innovation:

  • A culture of purposeful inclusion that engages every leader and employee to make a difference
  • A culture that synergizes the core human values and capabilities for being innovative
  • A culture for continuously shaping and succeeding in the still-unknown Next New Normal
  • A culture that seamlessly integrates emotional intelligence, human values, and broadminded mental disciplines in daily work

All these add up to an organizational culture for innovation and revitalization.

From our decades of research and experience with corporate cultures, we’ve observed the following 5 dimensions of such a culture that you can bolster through leadership practices, policies, and communications that directly impact how people innovate in their daily work.

We present them here to give you an initial sense of where you are, and what you could strive to strengthen.

The 5 Dimensions of a Culture for Innovation and Revitalization:

1.  People are united, with diversity:

  • Recognize that every person has the potential to be creative and innovative
  • Promote a unifying language and understanding for being innovative in everyday work

2.  People are growth-oriented, with balance:

  • Aim to benefit all stakeholders while valuing both achievement and new knowledge as meaningful outcomes
  • Invigorate the purpose, mission, vision, values, norms, and practices that enable innovation

3.  People are uplifting, with good character:

  • Build the self-awareness, self-esteem, values, skill, and confidence for being innovative
  • Unify the capabilities for innovative collaboration and versatility across boundaries

4.  People are expansive, with resolve:

  • Stretch boundaries of thought while consciously co-creating the future
  • Use human values and innovative thinking to stimulate creative ideas and produce meaningful solutions

5.  People are agile, with integrity:

  • Sustain positive team climates while coordinating the resources to achieve innovative outcomes
  • Practice the art and discipline of innovation with the agility and wisdom needed to serve all stakeholders

In these turbulent times, a Culture of Innovation and Revitalization is not a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” Indeed, getting a handle on where your culture is now and where it needs to be is foundational to your present and future success!

To emerge from this crisis stronger than before, begin innovating your culture now (if you haven’t already). Establish the cultural foundation for innovation recovery and innovative resurgence. Waiting to start will keep you suspended between a past that no longer exists and a future that is out of your reach.

Do you want to strengthen your

culture for innovation?

Become more purpose-driven, inclusive, values-based, and agile with VCI

Explore VCI’s Innovation Culture Analytic and Workshop

About the Authors

Debra Miller and William Miller have dedicated their careers to enabling “conscious innovation”. Debra draws from her experience as an IT executive and business coach, while William completed his tenure as Head of Innovation Management at the Stanford Research Institute. Together, they balance inner transformation with mastering new competencies for bringing out the innovative best with “every person, every job, every day.”

Debra Miller and William Miller

Last updated: 01 Jun 2022

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