3 Ways Your Culture May Be Sabotaging Innovation

Everybody wants innovation. But if somebody were to create an “innovation button,” it would break within an hour, smashed to pieces by overzealous palms. In order to truly and reliably foster innovation in a business, the culture must be aligned to facilitate it. In an article for, Sarah K. White describes three ways your culture might actually be inhibiting innovation:

  1. Losing sight of the end-user
  2. Ignoring cross-departmental collaboration
  3. Lack of unification over common goals

Culture Cultivation

A lot of businesses still have a mentality of, “Just get something out the door.” Products and features are developed for the sake of staying competitive, when in reality the things delivered do not align with what users want or need. In such an environment, telling people to be innovative is going to backfire, because all great products begin with user experience already in mind.

Another sweeping cultural problem is when silo mentalities stop departments from working together:

However, businesses need to avoid approaching collaboration as just another project — it’s not something that can be booked on a calendar, it needs to become an “end-to-end way of seeing, interacting with and extending the world,” says [John Underkoffler, CEO of Oblong Industries].

“Constant communication is a keystone to digital transformation across any organization and when designers, developers and delivery teams are working together, organic innovation is all but certain,” [says Barry Pellas, chief business technologist at PointSource].

Ultimately, departmental goals should overlap. This is something that can only happen as a result of top-down change, where executives talk the talk and walk the walk about organizational alignment. When departments communicate openly and eagerly about how to solve mutual challenges, the odds of innovation happening are maximized.

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