Making innovation part of your organisational DNA

Here is the executive summary for our article on innovation, we quite like the response it has had from people. If you’re interested in hearing and/or reading more contact

For organisations to create sustainable success, in an ever changing and dynamic world, they constantly need to find new ways to adapt, improve and reinvent what they do and how they do it.

This opportunity for innovation lies not just in new products and services but also in structures, processes and behaviours. To truly master this challenge requires the whole organisation to excel across the innovation process, from inception, through development and into action.

“Whole system innovation goes beyond the isolated creation of new concepts and ideas, it covers all parts of the innovation process and pervades all aspect of the organisation – products, services, processes and behaviours. It is the need to adapt to an ever changing world by generating insights and ideas that can be translated into practical, sustained business improvements and commercial benefits – it is an essential component of sustainable success.”

It is using this broader definition of a whole system view of innovation, going beyond the isolated creation of new concepts and new ideas, that we see innovation as a key component of sustainable success. While innovation remains a ‘subjet du jour’ for academics and consultants, our experience is that many organisations still struggle to make the necessary changes. In short, they appear to be asking ‘how do we innovate innovation?’

Our exploration of this challenge has drawn us to three areas that appear key to embedding innovation within the organisation’s DNA:

  1. Defining a broad innovation agenda supported by a disciplined process.

To move innovation beyond the preserve of the R&D department or product marketing team, requires a broader definition of the types of innovation that an organisation can benefit from. To capitalise on these opportunities further requires a more disciplined approach to the innovation process.

  1. Creating a fertile environment

Everyone has the capacity and ability to play a role in delivering the innovation agenda, but to enable this requires people to:  Recognise where and how they can play a role (mind-set). Be empowered to ‘step up’ and ‘speak out’ (behaviour)  Work collaboratively beyond their existing remit (relationship) To deliver whole system innovation requires challenging and changing existing paradigms and ways for working.

  1. Providing adaptive leadership

For innovation to pervade, adaptive leadership is required across the business, in a manner where leaders:

  • Communicate the challenge to staff and show how innovation fits with purpose, values and vision, i.e. a core initiative Identify and own the systems challenges that require major changes in mindset, behaviour and action, i.e. the real game changers
  • Model and encourage the shift in behaviour they seek, while overseeing the innovation process, i.e. encouraging creativity, protecting promising ideas and culling those that have run their course.

In short, creating an environment where innovation is seen as a fundamental part of the day job for everyone is one of the major challenges facing organisations today. In a world that is moving so fast, the price of standing still is great. When organisations are able to embed innovation within their DNA they not only create a major competitive advantage but also unlock the door to long-term sustainable success.

About adampscampbell
Passionate about helping ambitious business owners to create sustainable success. For information on our work with our broader client base please feel free to look at the website To connect more with our work with ambitious business owners follow me @adampscampbell or connect at

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