Work Culture

The probably most challenging part of any innovation management system is the work culture. We share some examples in this article what aspects of an innovation work culture can be described.
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Bernhard Doll

Business Design Maverick

"Culture eats strategy for breakfast." You very likely know this saying. What does it mean? You can craft a great vision, a clear and tangible "Picture of the Future", a profound strategy, but people in your innovation management system behave in a way that they represent pretty much the opposite of what the system has been envisioned for. Well, this would be the worst case, but it is sometimes not too far away from reality. Nevertheless, the first step to establish a work culture that is in line with the purpose of the innovation management system is to jot down what behaviour is expected in the system.

You can easily write a book about this topic, but here are some simple examples that might give you a head start:

  • Customer-centricity: Yes, we strove to understand the world of you customers than they do themselves. We also understand that we need to "develop" customers and not only listen to customers and solve pain points they have today.

  • Performance: Innovation requires commitment to high performance. It is expected that we do things beyond our comfort zone for the sake of our shared success. We spend 80% of our time on execution and 20% on planning and alignment.

  • Psychological safety: If we work hard and push our limits, failing is always part of the game. Nobody will be blamed if we fail. We are not surprised if this happens. However, we learn from these occasions and move on.

  • Language: We avoid abstract wording and buzzwords and try to be as visual as possible. We are not fans of should / would / could sentences and get straight to the point. We always bring demos and or prototypes to meeting when we talk about something new.

  • Teamwork: We create innovation in interdisciplinary teams. Always. We don't care about hierarchy but practice a shared responsibility for a team's success. We hate ego trips and don't provide an environment, in which people can foster narcissism and other fancy psychological phenomena.

  • Continuous learning: Learning not only happens within Business Design sprints. Everyone in the innovation management system has a personal responsibility to develop his / her special areas of interest (aka "rockstar areas") and personal skills. We are never finished. We always act in a "starting mode" and never rely on past successes. Every day is day Nr. 1.

  • Leadership: Leaders stand behind people and provide an environment for individuals and teams to grow. It is the role of leadership to give strategic directions ("Picture of the Future") and the right "space" for us to align our resources and help us create the performance we all want and need.

Additional topics could be around methodological aspects around innovation management, communication and coordination, conflict management, accordance with corporate processes of the legacy organisation, risk-taking, meeting culture, netiquette in online / chat systems etc.

Here is a funny tool that may help you streamline your communication style in meetings:

W.A.I.T. = Why Am I Talking? (66.22 KB)