Fostering a Culture of Innovation

Few things in the world of banking make me laugh--or pain me--harder than seeing banks and credit unions do "brainstorming" exercises as a way to create a culture of innovation. The drivers of innovation include a complex mix of many factors.

Factors of Innovation

The authors of one study reviewed published models of innovation, and identified 423 factors associated with organizational capacity, behaviors, and culture to support innovation. The 423 factors were analyzed and ultimately grouped into 10 "macro-level" classifications.

The authors write:

"To better understand organizational capacity for innovation, a survey instrument was developed to gauge employee perception on the components of mindset, resources, structure, and support for innovation. The instrument consists of statements regarding the factors within the ten different classifications. The instrument utilizes a five-point scale to measure the level of agreement with each statement. A composite score is calculated based on the responses to determine the level of maturity across the four categories of the innovative landscape. The findings can be used to assess the overall landscape, including the classifications within each category."

To create (or foster) a culture of innovation, you need to start with two things: 1) a comprehensive list of the factors that influence that "culture," and 2) an honest assessment of the state of those factors in the organization today. How can you know what to do to foster a culture of innovation if you don't know what comprises that culture, and whether or not they're in place today?

Fielding the survey the study authors mentioned would be a great exercise for a bank's or credit union's senior management team or strategic planning meeting. See the points of agreement/disagreement would be enlightening and (depending on your decision-making culture) a source of great discussion.

FYI: If 5 (or more) Insight Vault subscribing organizations express interest, I'll create the survey discussed in the study, and field it with your management team. Results and participants will be kept confidential. Should produce a lot of interesting data. Interested? Email me at

Ron Shevlin
Director of Research
Cornerstone Advisors