Building a Culture that Thrives on Innovation Agility

Innovation ExcellenceThe Conceptual Age

We are living in an age of disruption, where changes are accelerating making innovation a strategic and systemic necessity and competitive lever to ensure your organization’s survival and sustainability. Living now in what Daniel Pink describes as “The Conceptual Age” our attention needs to be on both enhancing creativity, agility and in developing customer empathy.

Organizations that embrace this and do it successfully, will develop a new breed of knowledge workers, who know how to be, think and act differently, and thrive, within an agile innovation culture.

What is an agile innovation culture?

Is when people know how to quickly respond, adapt to, and safely deal effectively with change, and self-regulate their unconscious resistances to change. It is where people are permitted and feel confident to take smart risks. It is where people are permitted, encouraged and enabled to rock the ‘business as usual’ boat and safely disrupt their comfort zones. Is when people feel energized in an environment that cultivates their purposefulness, creativity, and wellness.

It is when ‘smart creatives’ who combine “business savvy, technical knowledge, creative energy and a hands-on approach to getting things done”[1].

How does an agile innovation culture benefit the business?

It better enables organizations to achieve the key business outcomes they want and to deliver the required bottom line results; including increasing ROI, delivering business growth goals and increasing business value, making productivity and efficiency gains to compete successfully.

OGI Picture1At ImagineNation™ we embrace a strategic and systemic approach to contextualising, measuring, and benchmarking an agile innovation culture. This involves cultivating an innovation culture that creates changes that add value to the quality of people’s lives in ways that they value and cherish.

“The cultural lens is the most difficult to “get right” in the sense of having a culture that fits the challenges the organization is presently facing. It certainly is the most vexing to both diagnose and alter, in terms of difficulty and time. Change that threatens valued professional or occupational identities is particularly problematic. My sense is that if you can figure out a way to work within and with respect for the various cultures represented in the organization, change is somewhat easier. Culture is not a variable that one tunes up or down. It is a set of deeply embedded habits and ways of looking at the world that works and works well for cultural members. So, there are limits, serious ones, to the extent which cultural change can be directed and hastened[2].”

Suggesting that innovation is like a dance, and to dance well it’s important to know the key steps and how to orchestrate them carefully by balancing Strategy (vision) and Systems (technology) with People (culture) and Learning (capability).

The result is the development of an innovation culture that creates a both a human and a process focused environment that is both customer and people centric.

Our research also indicates that the majority of organizations don’t know how to take advantage of or adapt to, the global trends towards enterprise innovation and business agility.

Many are excited about Start-Ups, yet they don’t know how to capture or cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit Start-Ups embody, and exhibit this vital energy into their often, conventional business structures. Many aspire towards developing an intrapreneurship culture, yet don’t really know how much change at the core level, this will require.

Alternately, they lack the global perspective to see entrepreneurship as an economic lever for economic, social and civic change, as well as for effecting business enterprise change at the core.

Your operating culture will either support or inhibit your innovation success

At the same time, leaders are being expected to understand their business Innovation path with insufficient benchmarking and cultural data. Without this crucial data set, they put their innovation efforts at risk of being ‘episodic band-aids’ that don’t embed an innovation culture, and therefore wasted.

This is because they will try to either implement process or technological based changes, or perhaps introduce innovation practices, that the core messages within the culture will potentially reject. This is because they haven’t had the information; benchmarking and cultural data, to work at the deep organization mindset level, which is where culture lives.

What are the key steps involved in developing an agile innovation culture?

  1. Assessing your organizations readiness, receptivity and strategy for innovation.
  2. Developing an aligned cultural diagnostic process.
  3. Conducting the cultural diagnostic; qualitative and quantitative measures and analysis.
  4. Developing a culture plan that is executed internally.
  5. Implementing your culture plan to articulate new messages, solve business problems, maximize strengths, minimize constraints and build capability, capacity and confidence.
  6. Aligning people and technological solutions.

What gets measured gets done

We incorporate the use of a reliable and validated innovation culture diagnostic tool; the OGI™ (The Organizational Growth Indicator) that measures an organizations ability to adapt, grow and transform.

The old saying “what gets measured, gets done” is as relevant as ever in the world of organizational culture development.

This makes the need for Measurement – creating the tangible data that turns “soft” people and culture issues into “hard” metrics, Evaluation – assessing ROI on organizational change and learning efforts and Business Impact – linking organizational change and learning efforts to actual bottom line performance and results, critical.

Acknowledging these three elements as critical to innovation success, our innovation eco-system partner, Connective Intelligence™[3] has created the OGI™ (Organizational Growth Indicator)[4] as a statistically validated tool designed to assess an organization’s ability to grow through new value creation and adaptive change.

Who developed the OGI™?

Dr. Brett Richards, Ph.D., President, Connective Intelligence, developed the OGI™ with the cooperation of leading consumer packaged goods, manufacturing, education, and healthcare organizations. Following 5 years of extensive research, development, and testing, the OGI results have been shown to align closely with an organization’s actual revenue performance.

What is the OGI™?

An incisive, “next generation” organizational diagnostic tool that measures an organization’s ability to drive real growth through new value creation and adaptive change.

How does the OGI™ work?

It is an online employee survey that takes less than 20 minutes to complete. It measures 12 key factors that determine an organization’s ability to grow and transform, effectively.

The OGI assesses the organization’s “readiness” for and responsiveness to internally and/or externally generated change.

  • New value creation – holistic view of innovation – internally and/or externally focussed efforts to either enhance or create new value.
  • Adaptive change – the ability to effectively change structures, processes and/or culture as required to achieve the organization’s mission, vision and strategic business objectives.

The OGI™ quantitatively assesses the organization’s internal environment consisting of its climate, culture and mindset which strongly influence its approach and capability to drive growth and transformation.

The OGI™ provides a quantitative diagnosis provides a metric based cultural assessment of the organizational cultures ability to adapt, grow and transform within 4 key mindsets and 8 orientations.

It also identifies eight different types of organizational cultures – where are you now, and where do you need to be?

Adding the Qualitative Diagnostic Element

At ImagineNation™ we support this initial assessment process by conducting a qualitative diagnostic process, through targeted one on one interviews and focus group discussions that provide concrete evidence of the Key Messages apparent in the Organizational Mindset;

  • Revealing the operating values, beliefs and thinking preferences that influence attention and action within the organization.
  • Identifying the key factors impacting people’s shared perceptions and attitudes on the level of engagement within the organisation.
  • Identifying the specific operating beliefs and assumptions that drive people’s behaviours in the organization.

By combining both assessment processes we can then identify the core generative problems within the organization that need to be seen, responded to and solved through innovation planning, capability, capacity and confidence building and implementation.

Making the strategic culture decision

If you really want your business enterprise to flourish, then experimenting with ways of introducing the innovation as the way of “doing things around here” is critical to your future success. Doing this will harness and mobilize your people’s collective genius and deeply engage them in doing meaningful, creative and energizing work.

This is the real difference that will make the difference in achieving 21st-century success in the developing both the creativity and customer empathy required in the “Conceptual Age”.

It’s also a crucial way of shifting your organization from its inherent complacency and as a mechanism for resolving people’s fears and resistance to change and creating the safe space and permission for change.

It will also enable you to constructively resolve and shift your overall risk adversity towards smart and effective risk taking, through improvisation, experimentation and iterating key innovative products and services.

By taking a strategic and systemic perspective, and building a human-centered culture around your people and your customers you will accelerate the innovation process.

Invitation to join the webinar

Find out more by joining ImagineNations™ next free 60 minute webinar in our ‘Making Innovation a Habit’ Series; it’s with Connective Intelligence and the Organizational Growth Indicator (OGI) and it’s on Friday, 31st March 2017 in Asia and East Coast Australia, and on Thursday, 30th March in the USA, South America and Canada. Register now at

[1] How Google Works Erich Schmidt




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janet-sernackJanet Sernack is an ICF ACC accredited executive coach, corporate trainer, group facilitator and culture and change consultant with over 25 years of experience with some of Australasia’s and Israel top 100 companies. She is the Founder of ImagineNation™ a generative and provocative innovation education company that provides innovation e-learning programs including The Coach for Innovators Certified Program™ experiential learning events including The Start-Up Game™ and culture transformation projects that enable people and corporations to develop a strategic and systemic innovation culture and internal capability.

Janet Sernack

Janet is the Founder of ImagineNation™ a coaching, education & culture consulting company who leads the way and helps businesses achieve their innovation goals by challenging businesses to be, think & act differently to create a world where people matter & innovation is the norm.




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