Second Mistake in Innovating: Not renewing corporate culture


Failing to adapt the corporate culture to the innovation process is a frequent failure. Staff training is not the only factor influencing the success or failure of the innovation processes, but also aspects of the corporate culture such as the freedom and flexibility of employees to generate new ideas.

Interdepartmental collaboration, talent retention and even a flexible organisational structure are also important.

The lack of collaboration and alignment between the different departments is a common cause in the failure of these objectives. Therefore, all departments must be involved and committed from the early stages of any innovation project.

A study of 2,500 leading companies, which was published in the magazine Harvard Business Review of September-October 2018, in its article “Reevaluating Incremental Innovation”, talks about incremental innovation and interdepartmental collaboration:

The different approaches to R&D are not only a function of budget size; they also stem from culture. Among the firms in the study that favour smaller innovations, some have roots in the chemical or pharmaceutical industries, where the R&D function typically enjoys more power and respect than at CPG firms.

The researchers believe that in the latter, R&D is often overshadowed by marketing, reducing the likelihood that spending on it will translate to sales. ‘When R&D has a respected voice and collaborates with marketing, companies are more successful with innovation’”.

On the other hand, an organisation that does not encourage creativity and the exchange of ideas, will hardly be able to make disruptive innovations. The purpose to innovate must permeate all areas and levels of the company. However, it is up to those at the top to make sure that everyone knows and understands the reasons for innovation.

 Staff also need to feel that they have approval and support to share their ideas.

 Another mistake is not to invest in training, often because they don’t think it’s necessary. Other times, for fear that the acquired knowledge will be taken to the competition. The truth is, if you don’t train staff, those shortages will turn against you.

 You should also analyse your staff to see who can best perform certain tasks at each step of the process. If necessary, you should hire new talent.

You can read more about other mistakes when innovating in our article The failures companies make when trying to innovate.