How A Poor Culture Can Kill Innovation

23 May, 2017 / Articles
Leadership

Is your company clinging to the status quo? It could be hurting your culture and your chance for future success.

Consider the example of Kodak: In 1998, it was nearly impossible to avoid Kodak stores on every corner and the company’s more than 170,000 employees. The company was leading the photography world and was a huge success. However, although it had the technology at the time to produce digital cameras and was one of the first companies to know how to do so, it didn’t build on the idea because it didn’t want to compete with its own traditional film business. In short, the company didn’t want to innovate and take a risk. Instead, Kodak sat back as other companies eventually came out with the technology that essentially took down its core business. Instead of capitalizing on new technology and innovative change, Kodak was focused on only the next quarter and showed some fear for the future when it should have been  thinking about the possible long-term gains.

Similar examples, though perhaps not as dramatic, are seen every day at companies around the world. Instead of focusing on growth and where the company can be in the future, companies often get distracted by a culture of politics and nonsense. When employees, especially managers, are more concerned about keeping their jobs and moving up in the company, a culture that squanders innovation is born. Employees that are the most passionate about change and innovation can be silenced until they burn out or quit because they face so many obstacles to make change happen. It can be disheartening to be a forward-thinking employee at a company so firmly rooted in its current state.

In today’s tech-powered world, innovation happens at an astronomical pace, and having a culture that doesn’t support that growth can significantly hurt your company. If you work at a company where the status quo mentality is taking over, talk to executive leadership about the model and where the company is headed. One of the best ways to build a culture of innovation is to have the CEO and other leadership take risks and put aside the nonsense that holds the company in the same, repetitive patterns. A culture of transparency starting from the top down can foster innovation and lead to long-term growth and success that will be evident to employees and customers for years to come.

The science man and innovator, Fernando Fischmann, founder of Crystal Lagoons, recommends this article.

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