MOTIVATE Your Inner Innovator: Kickstarting Growth in a Stale Economy

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Many organizations have enjoyed continuous growth despite the challenges of the current economy. The problem is, the genesis of their organizational growth has been driven by entrepreneurship — and this entrepreneurship, unfortunately, has turned to bureaucracy, risk management and generally an internal focus.

This is a normal part of the organizational growth cycle. Insightful companies realize that they must manage risk by transitioning their old entrepreneurial culture into the new “intrapreneur culture.”

Here are the three key tenets that drive a growth culture and take your organization to its next level of hyper-growth.

The Magnetic Culture

It is said that nothing succeeds like success. To that, I would suggest that nothing innovates like innovation. Creating a culture that encourages an intrapreneur approach towards driving innovation and ultimately customer value is critical. Not only will this provide a way to drive new product innovation, it will also help you attract and keep the most motivated and innovative team.

Many companies stall by creating too much structure around their innovators, resulting in the creation of cultural anti-bodies that spit out your best talent. Ignite innovation by providing an open innovative culture that focuses on delivering the best customer value.

Igniting Innovation

As organizations transition through corporate growth cycles they often abandon the foundation of their success. Typically, that success lives in their ability to keenly connect to their customers’ needs, problems and opportunities. Most companies’ original foundational success was often also driven by the ability to quickly make decisions and transfer new ideas into a layered and dynamic customer value.

You must get back to the entrepreneurial roots that got you here in the first place. Studies have shown that companies can ignite innovation by hiring the best people, incentivizing them and giving them the freedom to move innovation forward quickly.

Use the power of enterprise solutions that encourage collaboration and engagement. You can use free solutions such as yammer to develop innovative communities within your enterprise that promote customer-centered and innovation and stakeholder collaboration. You can also use innovation management systems such as Spigit that leverage game mechanics to encourage, motivate and engage your best talent.

The Growth Platform

It amazes me how few organizations have developed growth platforms. A growth platform is a comprehensive plan that addresses all the key issues of your success including: how to attract and keep the best talent, the development of an innovation trajectory plan, innovation cross-pollination, incremental and breakthrough innovation.

Your growth will be based on your ability to manage the polarity of both product line extension and new breakthrough innovations. At the risk of using a worn-out axiom “failing to plan is planning to fail.”

My final word of advice: “put aces in places.” Bring in the best experts and higher and motivate the best team.

This topic and more are included in the Vistage Connect™ peer advisory sessions. Learn more.

Nicholas J. Webb is a Partner at Lassen Innovation, an innovation and business growth-consulting firm. He is also the author of The Innovation Playbook and The Digital Innovation Playbook. Visit his website at

Category: Innovation

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  1. Malcolm De Leo

    February 29, 2012 at 6:15 am

    Nick…Great post!  I completely agree.  Having worked in the innovation space both inside a large organization and now as part of a small organization with products that require culture change, these tenets are imperative for several reasons.  For one, those on the inside who are the conduits to doing things different need to be just that conduits!  On the other hand, those coming in from the outside need to be aware of the differences in cultures of the companies they serve.  Second, the world is changing and companies needs people to “see” the change.  The “anti-bodies” you speak of are rife with middle management saying that no one told them to work on that or think that way.  Take social media as a data source for the sake of argument.  As a champion of this new and nimble data source to help companies innovate, I see time and time again a marketplace with people waiting for it to be too late.  The market continues to show them that the concept of C2B (consumer to business) is real AND shaping business decisions.  Look what happened to the Gap (they changed their logo), or Bank of American (so long 5 dollar debit card fee) or NetFlix (didn’t check the price elasticity did they).   Innovation means taking a risk and having those people who see are critical.  And lastly, if you cannot align your culture you are lost.  I appreciate you quoting me a few posts back about the concept of the ME, the WE and the ENTERPRISE.  All three must be aligned to have an innovative culture.  The individuals need to understand how to work together on behalf of the clear goals of the ENTERPRISE.  That type of cultural alignment takes all types of innovators to solve its problems.  Without your people you have nothing but an idea…and that is where all businesses started.

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