Building an agile and innovative culture for business growth

We are living in an age of massive disruption. Where exponential changes are making innovation a strategic and systemic necessity, and the key competitive lever to ensure your organisation’s growth and sustainability. We are also living in what Daniel Pink describes as “The Conceptual Age”, so our attention needs to be on both enhancing customer empathy & toward building agile and innovative organisational cultures. Towards developing a better understanding of people’s resistance to change, and how to build their receptivity and readiness toward embracing it, to enable business growth to occur.

Organizations that do this successfully, have the opportunity to develop a new breed of knowledge workers. People who know how to be, think and act differently, and thrive, within an agile and innovative culture, where the spirit of innovation flourishes and the foundations for business growth are established.

What is an agile and innovative culture?

It is when organisations have resolved their people’s inherent resistance to change, and built receptivity and readiness toward it and when people are:

  • Empowered and enabled to quickly respond, adapt to, and safely deal with change.
  • Able to self-regulate and self-manage any unconscious resistance to change.
  • Permitted and feel confident to take smart risks and learn by failing.
  • Permitted, encouraged and enabled to safely disrupt their comfort zones, and rock the ‘business as usual’ boats, by challenging the status quo.
  • Feeling energized in an environment that cultivates their purposefulness, creativity, and wellness.

It is when ‘smart creatives’ who combine “business savvy, technical knowledge, creative energy and a hands-on approach to getting things done” that are instrumental in facilitating business growth.

How does an agile innovation culture deliver business growth?

An agile innovation culture benefits the business by enabling an organisation to achieve the key business outcomes it wants, by delivering the desired bottom-line results. Including increasing ROI, delivering business growth goals and increasing business value, making productivity and efficiency gains to compete successfully.

At ImagineNation™ we embrace a strategic and systemic approach to contextualizing, measuring and benchmarking an agile innovation culture. This involves cultivating an innovation culture that creates changes that add value to the quality of people’s lives in ways that they appreciate and cherish.

“The cultural lens is the most difficult to “get right” in the sense of having a culture that fits the challenges the organization is presently facing. It certainly is the most vexing to both diagnose and alter, in terms of difficulty and time. Change that threatens valued professional or occupational identities is particularly problematic. My sense is that if you can figure out a way to work within and with respect for the various cultures represented in the organization, change is somewhat easier. Culture is not a variable that one tunes up or down. It is a set of deeply embedded habits and ways of looking at the world that works and works well for cultural members. So, there are limits, serious ones, to the extent which cultural change can be directed and hastened.”

Suggesting that innovation is like a dance, and to dance well it’s important to know the key steps and how to orchestrate them carefully by balancing:

  • Strategy (vision) and Systems (technology) with;
  • People (culture) and Learning (capability).

The result is the development of an innovation culture that is both human-centric and process focused on ways that are customer and people-centric.

Our research also indicates that the majority of organizations don’t know how to take advantage of or adapt to, the global trends towards enterprise innovation and business agility. Adding to this is a tendency to avoid, resist and freeze when exponential changes are required, which then inhibits business growth.

Your operating culture will either support or inhibit your innovation success

At the same time, leaders are being expected to understand their business innovation path with insufficient benchmarking and cultural data. Without this crucial data set, they put their innovation efforts at risk of being ‘episodic band-aids’ that don’t embed an innovation culture and are, wasted, and waste valuable resources that don’t add to business growth.

This is because they will try to either implement process or technological-based changes or perhaps introduce innovation practices, that the core beliefs within the culture will potentially reject. It might also be because they haven’t had the information; benchmarking and cultural data, to work at the deep collective organization mindset level, which is where culture lives.

What are the key steps involved in developing an agile innovation culture?

  1. Assessing your organisation’s readiness, receptivity, and strategy for innovation.
  2. Developing an aligned cultural diagnostic process.
  3. Conducting the cultural diagnostic; qualitative and quantitative measures and analysis.
  4. Developing a culture plan to be executed internally.
  5. Implementing your culture plan to articulate new messages, solve business problems, maximize strengths, minimize constraints and build capability, capacity and confidence to effect business growth.
  6. Aligning the technological solution.

What gets measured gets done

We incorporate the use of a reliable and validated innovation culture diagnostic tool; the OGI® (The Organizational Growth Indicator) that measures an organisations’ ability to adapt, grow and transform, through disruption.

The old saying “what gets measured, gets done” is as relevant as ever in the world of organisational culture development. Making the need for:

  • Measurement – creating tangible data that turns “soft” people and culture issues into “hard” metrics.
  • Evaluation – assessing ROI on organizational change and learning efforts.
  • Business Impact – linking organizational change and learning efforts to actual bottom-line performance and results, critical.

Acknowledging these three elements as critical to innovation success, our innovation eco-system partner, Connective Intelligence™ has created the OGI® (Organizational Growth Indicator) as a statistically validated tool designed to assess an organization’s ability to grow through new value creation and adaptive change.

Who developed the OGI™?

Dr. Brett Richards, Ph.D., President, Connective Intelligence, developed the OGI® with the cooperation of leading consumer packaged goods, manufacturing, education, and healthcare organizations.  Following 5 years of extensive research, development, and testing, the OGI®  results have been shown to align closely with an organization’s actual revenue performance.

What is the OGI®?

An incisive, “next-generation” organizational diagnostic tool that measures an organization’s ability to drive real growth through new value creation and adaptive change.

How does the  OGI® work?

It is an online employee survey that takes less than 20 minutes to complete.  It measures 12 key factors that determine an organization’s ability to grow and transform, effectively.

The OGI® assesses the organization’s “readiness” for and responsiveness to internally and/or externally generated change.

  • New value creation – a holistic view of innovation – internally and/or externally focussed efforts to either enhance or create new value.
  • Adaptive change – the ability to effectively change structures, processes and/or culture as required to achieve the organization’s mission, vision, and strategic business objectives.

The OGI® quantitatively assesses the organization’s internal environment consisting of its climate, culture, and mindset which strongly influence people’s resistance to change and its approach and capability to drive business growth and transformation.

The OGI® provides a quantitative diagnosis that provides a metric based cultural assessment of the organizational cultures’ ability to adapt, grow and transform within 4 key mindsets and 8 orientations.

≥66% 65 – 57% 56 – 48% 47 – 39% ≤38%
Proactive Mixed Reactive Non-Responsive
ABILITY TO INNOVATE Advanced Proficient Moderate Marginal Poor
ABILITY TO TRANSFORM Excelling Thriving Adapting Developing Lagging
POTENTIAL ANNUAL  REVENUE GROWTH ≥ 25% 24 – 10% 9 – 1% 0 – (-8)% ≤ (-9)

It quantifies shifts in the organisations’ collective mindsets across;

  • Internal and external focus axis,
  • Flexible and stable axis

It also identifies eight different types of organizational cultures – where are you now, and where do you need to be?

Adding the Qualitative Diagnostic Element

At ImagineNation™ we support this initial assessment process by conducting a qualitative diagnostic process, through targeted one on one interviews and focus group discussions to provide concrete evidence of the Key Messages apparent in the collective Organizational Mindset;

  • Revealing the operating values, beliefs and thinking preferences that influence attention and action within the organization.
  • Identifying the key factors impacting people’s shared perceptions and attitudes on the level of engagement within the organisation.
  • Identifying the specific operating beliefs and assumptions that drive people’s behaviours in the organization.

By combining both assessment processes we can then identify the core generative problems within the organization. We can then apply human-centered design thinking processes to plan how to solve the systemic, generative problems through innovation planning, capability, capacity and confidence building, and implementation and deliver business growth.

Making the strategic culture decision

If you really want your business enterprise to flourish, then experimenting with ways of introducing innovation as the way of “doing things around here” is critical to your future success.  Doing this will reduce people’s resistance to change, harness and mobilize your people’s collective genius and deeply engage them in doing meaningful, creative and energizing work.

This is the real difference that will make the difference in achieving 21st-century success in leveraging talents’ ability to flourish in the “Conceptual Age”.

It’s also a crucial way of shifting your organization from its inherent complacency, and as a mechanism for resolving people’s fears and resistance to change and delivering business growth.

It also enables you to constructively resolve and shift your overall risk adversity towards smart and effective risk-taking, through improvisation, experimentation and iterating key innovative products and services, and to learn quickly by failing fast.

By taking a strategic and systemic perspective, and building a human-centered, agile and innovative culture around your people and your customers you will reduce people’s resistance to change and accelerate the innovation process and deliver real business growth.

At ImagineNation™ we provide innovation coaching, education and culture consulting to help businesses achieve their innovation goals. Because we have done most of the learning and actioning of new hybrid mindsets, behaviors, and skill-sets already, we can help your businesses also do this by opening people up to their innovation potential.

Contact us now at to find out how we can partner with you to learn, adapt and grow your business in the digital age.