Why Mindsets Matter in Innovation, Transformation and Digitization

Why Mindsets Matter in Innovation, Transformation and DigitizationThis is the second of three articles on embracing digitization, transformation and innovation.

In our last blog “Taking the Path to Digital Transformation” we described how leading innovators, R&D and new-product development have become digital endeavors. How eleven of the fifty companies named in BCG’s 2018 ranking of the most innovative companies – including seven of the top ten – are digital natives and thus digital innovators by definition.

Described by Deloitte, in a recent article “Digital workplace and culture – How digital technologies are changing the workforce and how enterprises can adapt and evolve”:

“It is the job of the organization to create and support a singular vision that everyone is working towards, whether that is in an office or online. No matter where an organization is on the path to digital transformation, executives can take steps to create a supportive, adaptive workplace for the people who can help their organization grow to the next level”.

Acknowledging that most digitization efforts, no matter how intentional and well resourced, fail unless these crucial elements are at play and, the operating culture adapts, innovates and transforms to support their successful application.

Why do mindsets matter?

We outlined how to embrace digitization and innovation – how to do it, well, or better by understanding, quantifying and shifting mindsets by using The Organizational Growth Indicator® (OGI®). The OGI® describes an organization’s mindset as a “cognitive style” involving a psychological dimension that is generally viewed as a preferred approach to processing information, decision making, addressing tasks and solving problems.

In his book “Grow through Disruption” Dr Brett Richards explains that a mindset represents more how we think, it captures how we feel and how we act as individuals and as whole organizations.

  • Mindset is an active and dynamic expression of an organization’s culture and collective consciousness, in that it taps into underlying values, beliefs and assumptions at play, with it.
  • Mindsets shed light on an organization’s unique active cognitive stylistic preferences, which shapes strategy formulation, and the way in which resources and talent actively engage with the world and are harnessed and maximized.

These can be quantified within the OGI® by the extent to which it leverages each of the 4 principal mindsets which can be mapped by utilizing the OGI® described below.

Whose continuum’s represent the dynamic tensions that exist within most organizations as they strive to achieve intelligent action.

Organizations that successfully balance and leverage these dimensions, which is described as a Competing Values Framework, achieve long term viability and sustained success.

  • Flexible organizations will be more open to changing processes and structures, valuing agility and responsiveness in meeting new and emerging needs of stakeholders, partners & consumers.
  • Stable organizations will be more focussed in maintaining a consistent, routinized approach to meeting the needs of the business and its customers.
  • Externally focussed organizations are more sensitive and responsive to shifts occurring in their external environment.
  • Internally focussed organizations are more sensitive and responsive to their internal operating environment.

Mapping organizational mindsets

By integrating the 4 Principal Mindsets of the OGI® we are able to create an organizational mindset map, illustrated in Figure 1, which incorporates;

  • The Imagine Mindset with its focus on the power of possibility to fuel the search for new discoveries combines challenging and disrupting the status quo, with flexibility and an external focus is essential to innovation and adaptive change to create the desired future.
  • The Resolve Mindset with its focus on transforming and adapting new ideas into tangible value and innovative solutions and results combines stability with an internal focus toward establishing a high performance around making things work.
  • The Analyse Mindset with its focus on information, knowledge and ideas helps combines stability with an external focus to ensure that research drives a more practical and robust search for ideas and practices that will improve the status quo and drive knowledge.
  • The Align Mindset with its focus on integrating and aligning the organizations values, vision and purpose for change, engages people, inspires conviction and the flexibility required to interconnect internally to create unity and purpose around effecting positive change.

Figure 1

Doing this creates a common understanding and language, impact and score cards the often-competing differences between mindsets, and behaviours across organizational demographics (departments, divisions and business units).

This sheds light on the way mindsets reflect the impact of strategies, business challenges, leadership styles and sub cultures that exist within the organization.

Mapping Mindsets Case Study Example 

Figure 2

Our client, a global leader in its industry, sought our support to improve its innovation capability as a lever for achieving its organizational growth objectives. Initially, by    seeking our advice in the purchase of a digitized ideation platform and as to whether the current organizational culture would support, embrace and enable its implementation, or not.

Upon conducting the quantitative research, we discovered what mindsets would supporting and inhibiti the organizations ability to adopt and grow in line with its strategic objectives, and how they would potentially impact positively and negatively on the proposed acquisition of a digitized ideation platform.

We supported this online assessment with qualitative research and identified the results which are illustrated in Figure 2 .

Brief Summary of the Key Cultural Challenges

  • People were focussing on ensuring that production meet the sales targets, and not on ensuring a happy customer experience and had deep unacknowledged issues with high levels of customer dissatisfaction – Resolve Mindset.
  • People were “not allowed” to be creative and inventive, due to an underlying assumption and belief that only the founders had permission to innovate, who were being restricted by budget constraints and focussing on reworking the core products rather than inventing new ones – Imagine Mindset.
  • There was confusion internally as a result of the lack of clarity, communication and understanding as the vision, BHAG and values as well as their lines of sight to individual job roles and to customers – Align Mindset.
  • There was an unacknowledged issue around quality that created a negative legacy both internally (staff dissatisfaction & repetition of the same mistakes) and externally (delivery of faulty goods & cost of onsite rework) – Resolve Mindset.
  • The organization was heavily Process and not People driven, it also has KPI’s creating internal competition rather than collaboration and lacked systems alignment to customer satisfaction and quality expectations – Analyze Mindset.

Finally, had the organization gone ahead, and invested the million dollars plus to purchase the proposed digitized ideation platform, the key cultural challenges, especially in the Align and Imagine Mindset results, would have prohibited its effective application and implementation.

Developing a culture that supports digitization, transformation and innovation

This reinforces the need for organizations to focus on initiating a culture that supports digitization by strategically and systemically aligning the culture through;

  • Giving people permission to develop and cultivate new ideas and operate from discovery flexibly, combined with an external focus on competing by increasing value through improving the customer experience – Imagine Mindset
  • Finding solutions to problems and delivering results, combined with an `creating an internal agility and stability, with an external focus on competing by increasing value through improving the customer experience – Resolve Mindset
  • Providing information and proof through technology, systems and processes, to increase value, combines stability and agility with an internal focus – Analyse Mindset.
  • Cultivating talents collective genius and maximizing their potential though values alignment and integration and learning, combines flexibility and agility with an internal focus on increasing value by improving people’s experience at work – Align Mindset.

After all, innovation is an organizations ability to stimulate and transform new ideas and knowledge into products, processes or services that tangibly increase value to customers, accelerate growth, enhance operational effectiveness and/or improve profitability.

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janet-sernackJanet Sernack is an ICF ACC accredited executive coach, corporate trainer, group facilitator and culture and change consultant with some of Australia’s and Israel’s top 100 companies. She is the Founder of ImagineNation™ an innovation education company that provides innovation e-learning programs including The Coach for Innovators Certified Program™ experiential learning events including The Start-Up Game™. Follow @JanetSernack

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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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