Cultivate An Innovation Mindset Across Your Company

Image via Quartz

Innovation is not just the domain of R&D teams and chief innovation officers – it needs to be embedded across the entire organization. Yet implementing an innovation culture poses difficulties for many mature companies. Entrenched habits like risk avoidance, short-term thinking, and siloed processes obstruct meaningful transformation. Long-standing organizations tend to cling to the status quo versus embracing change. To genuinely shift the culture, leaders must surmount these barriers through decisive strategy, communication, and training. 

In a recent Quartz interview, Outthinker Networks president, Claudio Garcia, interviewed Outthinker Strategy Network member, Claus Jensen, Chief Innovation Officer at telemedicine leader Teladoc Health to learn his approach to infusing innovation across the organization. Jensen believes successful innovation stems from integrating it into a company’s culture and daily operations. It starts with cultivating the right mindset in employees – encouraging them to think creatively and challenge the status quo.

He notes that many companies struggle because they silo innovation, rather than making it part of everyone’s role. To foster the right mindset, leaders need to:

  • Communicate the importance of innovation and why it creates value for the business. Jensen personally runs workshops to reinforce this.
  • Encourage small experiments and creative thinking in day-to-day work. Provide resources like hackathons and patent events.
  • Recognize when people slip back into old ways of thinking. Continuously check in and reinforce the new mindset.
  • Don’t worry about measuring innovation too soon. Look for behavioral changes showing the mindset is taking hold.

"You can give people tools and resources, but the most important thing you must do is change their mindset. If your team’s mindset says, 'I don’t have room for innovation,' that’s a problem. That tells you they think of innovation as something on the side. You’ll progress more quickly if you change the thought model to, 'We’re all innovating every day in everything we do.'"

Both old and new companies can struggle with fixed mindsets. The key is whether the culture embraces new ideas. When hiring, evaluate candidates’ natural affinity for innovation, but remember these are learnable skills.

The key is getting each employee to make a personal commitment to innovation as part of their job. Some will adopt it faster than others. But with the right culture and leadership support, it can become an unconscious competence over time.

As Jensens interview, “How to cultivate an innovation mindset across your company” explains, fostering an innovation mindset across the organization starts with leadership commitment and providing the right motivations and resources. But ultimately, it requires employees themselves deciding innovation is part of their role.


Claudio Garcia
Claudio GarciaPresident - OSN
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Cori Dombroski
Cori DombroskiMember Experience - OSN
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