The Hard Truth about Innovative Cultures (Harvard Business Review)

3 · 29 · 19

We recently read this abstract from an article by Gary Pisano in the Harvard Business Review, and it makes some excellent points about the realities of the behaviors that produce great innovative performance! We think you’ll find it helpful. You can read the full article here.

Innovative cultures are generally depicted as pretty fun. They’re characterized by a tolerance for failure and a willingness to experiment. They’re seen as being psychologically safe, highly collaborative, and nonhierarchical. And research suggests that these behaviors translate into better innovative performance. But despite the fact that innovative cultures are desirable, and that most leaders claim to understand what they entail, they are hard to create and sustain. That’s because the easy-to-like behaviors that get so much attention are only one side of the coin. They must be counterbalanced by some tougher and frankly less fun behaviors: an intolerance for incompetence, rigorous discipline, brutal candor, a high level of individual accountability, and strong leadership. Unless the tensions created by this paradox are carefully managed, attempts to create an innovative culture will fail.

From Harvard Business Review, “The Hard Truth about Innovative Cultures,” Gary Pisano (Dec. 31, 2018), abstract. A version of the linked article appeared in the January–February 2019 issue (pp.62–71) of Harvard Business Review.

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