Innovation won’t just happen by itself, it needs stimulating, growing, supporting and encouraging. So it’s easy to see how it becomes entangled in organisational culture. Is it enough to have a vision that states the organisation is innovative? What happens when your organisational processes and structures don’t for example support risk taking? What happens is that the espoused values of the organisation become undermined by the “way we do things around here” ie the culture.
Trying something new involves change, risk and the possibility of failure. An organisation that wants to encourage new ideas has to develop a culture of trust and openness and look to remove barriers. A creative team has to communicate, share and understand each other’s contribution, embrace diversity, question and challenge each other. An innovative individual needs a safe environment to express themselves, to know that their ideas are valued, there is a way to record them, share them, and take them forward. They need to be open to new experiences, and recognise opportunities.
In order to become part of the organisation, innovation needs to properly embedded and embodied in the organisation, and as a long term plan not just a passing fad.
Trying to change organisational culture can be messy and ineffective, as a large part of it is about changing attitudes and values, so focusing on some of the practical aspects can help to find a way forward.