We recently completed our latest Indiana Business Council survey. The topic of this survey was on innovation. From an overall perspective, results seem fairly positive. Two-thirds of respondents felt the culture at their company fostered innovation and almost seven out of ten felt the company was willing to take risks.
However, when we looked a little deeper, only 50% felt the company responded positively to failure, while 20% did not feel the company responded positively to failure. Also, only about one-third of respondents felt the company rewarded them for being creative.
It is these more basic, tactical aspects of innovation where truly innovative companies differentiate themselves. For example, during new employee orientation, the President of Pixar explains to the employees where the company has failed. He does this so employees understand it is alright to stick your neck out and try new things. It is the learnings from these mistakes that will often make the company stronger.
What also surprised me was the gap in perceptions between CEOs and staff level employees. It is common to see a gap in perceptions between these two groups but I found the gaps here to be especially large. This tells me either the CEO is not doing a good job of foster an environment of innovation or the CEO is doing their job but middle management is the problem. I was speaking last week to a group of CEOs and one of the CEOs gave a specific example where one of his VPs was discouraging the employees from coming to the CEO with new and innovative ideas.
If you want more information about this survey, or the results for our previous surveys go to: www.indianabusinesscouncil.com.