6 dimensions to foster your innovation culture

"What can't be measured, can't be managed." Innovation culture is difficult to grasp and even more difficult to systematically record and measure. And yet, it is indispensable for sustainable business success that innovations are not only sought in the company, but above all also enabled and encouraged.

"In the St.Gallen Innovation Culture Navigator we split “innovation culture" into six comprehensible dimensions. Keep in mind that it is a matter of combining all six dimensions, because maintaining only one of them is not sufficient. Pure employee motivation for innovation is of little use if there are no agile formats to face this motivation; inspiration will produce few useful ideas if the company’s situation and goals are unclear. In order to simplify your work, we listed eleven culture practices of innovation champions for each dimension. It will give you an idea of how concrete routines, structures, and formats can be designed for your everyday company life.

"What can't be measured, can't be managed."

The six dimensions of the Innovation Culture Navigator can be memorized according to the motto: AnIMATE your culture!”

gile implementation
Innovation leaders are characterized by agile and adaptable procedures when handling innovative ideas and projects. The eleven culture practices are, therefore, primarily aimed at how companies become and remain agile. For example, the innovation pipeline should not be clogged up by too many innovation projects – in adherence with the "kill projects" principle.
nspire employees,
due to diverse perspectives
Inspiration ensures that employees actively broaden their horizons and gain new insights in order to find new solutions. You need the right working environment and the right people in the right fields of activity. How about an "Inspiration Kit" for employees, for example?
Motivation: Being innovative should be fun, because nothing is more natural than having fun while learning and being creative. Prizes such as an "Innovation Award" or an "End of Project Award" are ways of motivating employees and valuing them. If you want to get employees out of their everyday lives and get them excited about innovation, the "Innovation Week" is the perfect opportunity to work on a previously defined challenge.
An innovation culture also implies that all employees pull in the same direction. Innovative behavior should be internalized by all the participants and thus it should also have an impact on their actions. Subcultures and communities can emerge and small symbolic signs like T(eam) shirts are really helpful.
Employees need to know which innovation topics are strategically relevant. In addition, innovation-related decisions must be communicated in such a way that they are comprehensible. Problems should not be covered up, but actively addressed, because they are part of an innovation culture – as are failures. Celebrating failures can therefore be an approach.
Employees need freedom to generate innovative contributions. This means they must be trusted and have the necessary independence.

How healthy is your innovation culture? Do a self-assessment and find out what your status quo is in comparison to a constantly growing research database.

Do you have any questions about innovation culture or the St.Gallen Innovation Navigator?

write an email
Get professional support

Who is behind all this?

Oliver Gassmann

(Prof. Dr.) is Professor for Innovation Management and the Director of the Institute of Technology Management at the University of St.Gallen.

Christoph H. Wecht

(Prof. Dr.) is Professor of Management at the New Design University (NDU) in St. Pölten. He has extensive experience in industry and research.

Christoph Meister

(Dr.) is the CEO of the BGW AG. He has several years of industry experience as a corporate innovation manager.

Raphael Bömelburg

is a research associate at the Institute of Technology Management at the University of St.Gallen. He was active in the start-up sector in California.

Institute of Technology Management - University of St.Gallen

The Institute for Technology Management at the University of St.Gallen – new insights from research and practice.

learn more

BGW AG Management Advisory Group

The BGW AG Management Advisory Group is a spin-off from the Institute of Technology Management at the University of St.Gallen.

learn more