How to Create a Culture of Innovation?

Strong correlation between communication between senior executives and collaboration within organizations

Why do organizations have a hard time changing?

Staff members are unhappy. Staff members only do what they're told to do. Executives face these potential issues in their companies, and perhaps among them, they may also feel there is a lack of innovation when compared to previous years.

The Coaching Research Institute has studied the results of organization surveys from 32 companies to find out the characteristics of an organization that has a culture of innovation.

Among the 10 items related to organization's communication, "communication between senior executives" and "collaboration within organizations" had the strongest correlation with "culture of innovation." There was also strong correlation between these two items.

Figure 1.
Relation between "culture of innovation" and "organization's communication" (*1)

7-point Likert scale (1: Completely disagree→7:Completely agree)
n=32 companies
Coaching Research Institute (2015)

Our findings showed that communication between senior executives in an organization may encourage teams to work beyond a given framework and collaborate with other divisions. Through cross-border collaboration, this in turn may encourage organizations to foster a culture of innovation.

So how much do senior executives actually communicate with each other?

In order to better understand the current and desired state of communication, we asked company senior executives in a survey:
・"Who did you have dialogue with for a total of more than 30 minutes in one week in order to help you achieve your goals?" (current state)
・"Who do you want to have dialogue with for a total of more than 30 minutes in one week?" (desired state)

The results showed that, in its current state, senior executives spoke with only 20% of the other senior executive members in one week. There were even cases where more than half of the senior executives did not talk to other senior executives at all.

Regarding the desired state, senior executives wanted to have dialogue with twice as many senior executive members than the current state to help them achieve their goals. This means that communication between executives is not even half of where they want it to be.

From these results, we believe that in an organization with a strong culture of innovation, senior executives communicate with each other often and encourage teams to work beyond a given framework. However, what makes creating this culture of innovation in a workplace difficult is the lack of communication between the senior executives.

In order to change the working culture in your organization, senior executives must first start the habit of communicating with each other more often and try to encourage more innovation into the workplace.

*1 Relation between "culture of innovation" and "organization's communication"
No. of samples: 133 staff members per company (average) from leaders of 32 companies
Period: September 2011 - February 2015
Survey method: Web-based survey
Survey tool: Executive Mindset Inventory

*2 A survey on communication between senior executives
No. of samples: 7-19 senior executives per company from leaders of 6 companies
Period: September 2015 - October 2015
Survey method: Web-based survey
Survey tool: A survey on communication between senior executives

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