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Innovation is a Culture, Not a Project

August 2009by Moshe Engelberg, Ph.D.


In this troubled economy, innovation is more essential than ever. A culture of innovation provides new ways of looking at problems, reveals hidden opportunities, and produces new solutions.

You can clearly demonstrate a culture of innovation through what you produce. iPhones, iPods - Apple innovates products that revolutionize industries. Innovation is not just Apple's brand promise- it is their culture. And it doesn't need to be shouted out. It is consistently demonstrated.

You can also innovate through the way you do what you do. GE exemplifies this through their continuous improvement of both products and process, with specific metrics to guide them. While you may not think "exciting" when you think of GE, they have in fact produced a steady stream of innovations over 130 years, from Edison's light bulb to the x-ray machine to the ideal carbon nanotube.

In both companies, the commitment to innovate is driven from the top down and supported throughout the organization. It is not a one-time thing. Innovation is a culture; not a project, not an event, not a department, and not a person. What one innovation can you make to improve your culture of innovation?

Moshe Engelberg, Ph.D., M.P.H.
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