Culture of Innovation Making companies successful

innovation is a group of steps and activities visualized for translating ideas into actual products / services / processes. The innovation process commences with identifying and defining the source problem (Sva?, 2012).The building blocks of an innovative culture are as follows:






These aforementioned building blocks are linked. For instance, the values of an enterprise affect the employee’s behavior, workplace climate, and how success is perceived and quantified.

An innovative culture inherits ideas from research conducted by multiple authors. For promoting innovation, most enterprises generously invest time in resources, processes, and quantifying success. However, most companies have neglected to evaluate the more difficult to identify and/or measure factors of innovative culture with respect to people – including climate, behavior, and values.

To date, apparently, most companies have quantified innovative culture in terms of processes, management of resources, and measuring success of innovation rather than measuring building blocks of people oriented innovation. Most managers have observed that handling employee’s behavior, values, and office place climate are quite a huge challenge. As per one CEO, the easier part is the toughest part. However, as difficult these so called ‘people issues’ are, they are the deciding factors in shaping an innovative culture and developing the competitive edge (Rao & Weintraub, 2013).

Company: Samsung

1. Management Styles: Samsung spearheads the electronic market in chip design, batteries, televisions, and screen technology. It is the epitome of innovation. Moreover, it strives to avoid patents as it innovates. From its earliest entry into innovative culture, Samsung competed with Toshiba in the washing machines sector. The Samsung Company has worked their way around patents; innovating new patentable ideas from its competitors (look at the Samsung presentation for example).

During the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, two developments influenced the company to implement a more methodical approach to innovation, which has spearheaded their current success ratio. They found inexpensive scientific expertise in Russia during the late 1990’s. Samsung has a cordial professional business alliance with Russian Academy of Science. A contract has been signed by both parties. The Korean government finances small sized Korean enterprises working on the research of Russian Academy. Samsung on the other hand, increases their patents and works on their research. The chief advantage for Samsung is inexpensive Russian expertise available as low as $3,000 to $5,000 / month (Shaughnessy, 2013).

2. Capitalize on innovation and intrepreneurship:

The Samsung Strategy and Innovation Center (SSIC) is situated in Silicon Valley. Its intended aim is to amplify profits and reach a $400 billion benchmark by 2020. Apart from initiating SSIC, Samsung has also invested $100 million to initiate the Samsung Catalyst Fund for funding components and subsystems. Moreover, it has invested $1 billion in Ventures Americas Fund for investing in third parties as well as multiple researching facilities (Eaton, 2013).

Samsung has vested interests in Silicon Valley’s think tank. In a strategic move, it also aims to shifts some research and development teams outside of Korea. Samsung has shown a return on investment in excess of $6.6 billion during the year 2012, accomplishing a market capitalization of $200 billion during the fiscal year. Its arch competitor, Apple reported double profits, in excess of $13 billion during the same fiscal year with a market capitalization of $420 billion (Eaton, 2013).

Company: Amazon

1. Organization’s culture

Amazon has pioneered technological innovation resulting in phenomenal growth. From its service, with Amazon 1-click expediting the ordering process, customer-specific recommendations are made via browsing through the customer’s interests by examining their purchase history, Amazon has pioneered the online shopping experience. At the core of Amazon’s business ideology is innovation; during the last 15 years, the company has striven to enhance and upgrade the shopping experience for its customers. The business is based on a two-step model:

Finding the appropriate product for the customer

Shipping it in fastest time possible

With over eight fulfillment centers in United Kingdom, products are ready to be shipped to customers, a winning combination of competent workforce and technology (Curtis, 2013).

1. Capitalize on innovation and intrapreneurship: Developing a business and maintaining it doesn’t guarantee its sustenance for the next century or even two decades. As per S&P 500 estimates, a company’s lifespan in 1958 was 50 years, in 1983, it was reduced to 30 and in 2008 it was driven down to 18. To remain afloat in the present marketplace, every business should be built-to-change. A case in point is Amazon, which remained afloat after the dotcom bubble burst, spearheading its annual growth from $4 billion to $20 billion (2002-2008). Amazon’s trump card is its ability to change. With zero tolerance for a complacent attitude in its work ethic, it survived the dotcom bubble, and expanded its business portfolio from books to wide ranging consumer goods (Johnson, 2010).


1. Management Style

Google is an antithesis to present management norms with traits synonymous to General Motors in 1920’s, and Toyota during the 1980’s, with respect to management innovation. Google is now recognized as the most prestigious corporation for five years in a row. Google has registered a sale of $50 billion and gross profits of $11 billion. Google is the epitome of innovation. Google has synchronized two polar opposite competencies:

Computer science skills

Exploiting scientific oriented professionals

Google is primarily built on an orthodox management model composed of six management pillars:

Dynamic capabilities

A constantly evolving organization

People centric approach

Ambidextrous organization

A networking organization

Unconventional working methods (Steiber, 2014).

2. Capitalize on innovation and intrapreneurship: Google’s market capitalization surpassed a record breaking $260 billion. Its shares are hot favorites soaring over 900% subsequent to its IPO in 2004. The corporation owes its success to constant research and experimentation along with out-of-the-box innovation. At Google, ideas are encouraged since innovation is its lifeline. Google’s employee workforce stands at 30,000, much less than Exxon Mobil (76,900 employees) and Apple (72,800). It’s bent on creating an innovation-based environment.

The culture links deeply with human nature. People aspire to see concreteness of their work. They want to play a role in shaping it and changing it. Google’s passionate workforce is its key to innovation. Every company can reap the rewards of inviting innovators; promote openness, which translates in corporate and industrial success (He, 2013)

3. Processes and systems might actually stifle innovation and intrepreneurship

Inadequate funding

Initiating startups essentially means allocating funds from an established program. Diverting funds at the opportune openings is also troublesome since organizations operate on a mapped out yearly funding cycles. Innovation requires more than startup funds to proposer into a real world product (IBM, 2006)

Risk avoidance

Risks are avoided by most people. No progress is achievable without calculated risk. Similarly, most companies avoid risk-prone projects tending to nitpick them instead. The defense mechanism comes into play. After risk assessment is completed, the innovation is abandoned. An innovative environment weighs in the pros and cons of risk-aversive projects and promotes an innovation-centric-environment (IBM, 2006).


Organizations aspire to create an identity, take due credit and sustain their business. Due to this very reason, boundaries are demarcated, responsibilities are assigned and rules are setup in place. Innovation steps beyond these boundaries and creates new frontiers. This is the sole cause of patent disputes and ownership rights, deals ending in stalemate and profit sharing being a source of conflict. When needs and demands of an organization are assessed, only then innovation inflicted conflicts can be resolved (IBM, 2006)

Time commitments

Time is a commodity lacking in excess. The management’s role is to ensure that time is consumed productively. While the management works with its employees on grounds of personal growth, relationships, education, experimentation and health, the outcomes of these training programs are difficult to measure. Moreover, these investments may not culminate in a concrete outcome (IBM, 2006)

4. Processes to foster a culture of innovation within your own organization

Theory of change for the issue

Using the method necessary to bring about a change, innovation entails envisioning new ideas for solving a particular problem. For instance, the Barr Foundation, in its project of improving after-school opportunities for Boston’s youth, has mapped out a proper plan by interlinking different after school service providers and forming alliances with other schools in this regard (Kasper & Clohesy, 2008)

Business model or theory of action, for the organization

This process focuses on adjusting the role of the organization within a larger context of change. Innovation at its core entails evolving business models and reshaping the ways it provides value. For instance, Dell transformed the computer business model by pooling funds prior to assembly of customer’s orders. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation realized during the 1990’s that allocating $30 to $40 million/year for healthcare system was inadequate for its intended impact. It restructured itself into an operating foundation, working in the research domain and circulating information about various health policy issues faced by the nation, as a means to better leverage government resources for its noble goals (Kasper & Clohesy, 2008)

Core Offerings

Revamping the core services / products, grants are the essential core offering of a foundation. Certain foundations such as Taproot Foundation avoid grants to provide other relevant services. Instead of giving grants, the Taproot Foundation specializes in offering tools for assisting business professionals in nonprofits with consultancy, human resource and marketing services (Kasper & Clohesy, 2008)

Supporting Services

Supporting services transform the mode of service while stepping beyond core offering. For instance, Singapore Airlines distinguished itself from its competitors by offering over-the-top customer service (Kasper & Clohesy, 2008)

Enabling processes

These processes revamp the support of staff and core processes. Starbucks specializes in delivering stellar service and a rich experience to its customers, given that it provides its employees generous compensation and benefits. This translates into better dedication, skill development and employee retention. Ashoka has transformed the method of hiring employees by adapting the search process slightly focusing on problem solving skills and innovative curve of an individual (Kasper & Clohesy, 2008).


Curtis, S. (2013, October 15). The Innovations That Took Amazon from Online Bookseller to Dominant Global Marketplace. Retrieved from

Eaton, K. (2013, Febuary 05). Fast Feed. Retrieved from

He, L. (2013, March 29). Google’s Secrets Of Innovation: Empowering Its Employees. Retrieved from

IBM. (2006). Five barriers to innovation: Key questions and answers. IBM Global Business Services.

Johnson, M.W. (2010, April 12). Amazon’s Smart Innovation Strategy. Retrieved from

Kasper, G., & Clohesy, S. (2008). Intentional Innovation W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Rao, J., & Weintraub, J. (2013, March 19). Research Feature. Retrieved from

Shaughnessy, H. (2013, July 03). What makes Samsung such an Innovative Company. Retrieved from

Steiber, A. (2014, March 07). How Google Manages Continuous Innovation In A Rapidly Changing World. Retrieved from

Sva?, V. (2012). Culture of Innovation. Slovakia: KPMG.

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