Innovation is more about attitude and culture than technology

The Economist recently (June 12th -18th) included an article written by Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway. Something that he said resonated with me – that is that ‘Technology is easy to develop, developing a new attitude, moving the culture from one mental model to another, that’s the difficulty’.

This rang bells for me because I had just been reviewing assignments written by MBA students for the Creativity, Innovation and change programme where they were reflecting on how creative their organisations were. One of the aspects that regularly come up here is that the culture and climate are not conducive to creativity, and therefore innovation.

Ekvall, 1991, researched creative climates and came up with a set of dimensions which he determined enabled creativity in organisations.  These include idea time, freedom, and challenge.

These seem quite obvious, however on the other hand in my coaching and training work over the years it has been clear that these types of factors have been missing. Not only are organisations over stretched but it does seem that managers and leaders are afraid to allow people any individual time for reflection, learning and possible creation of ideas.

So what are leaders and organisations afraid of I wonder?

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