Innovation & Acceleration

Beyond the Black Turtleneck: Building a Culture of Innovation

News - August 10, 2018

When we think of innovation, we tend to conjure up images of people in designer glasses and black turtlenecks standing pensively in front of a whiteboard. As portrayed in TV and movies, only “creative” people are capable of innovating.

This Jony Ive-esque image of innovation is compelling, but the reality is more prosaic. Study after study shows that, in the most innovative companies, this is not the domain of a single department—it is a function of the company culture. Authors and innovators Jeff Dyer and Clayton Christensen describe this as the Innovator’s DNA: the set of norms, behaviors, and practices within a company that enable it to identify, nurture, and ultimately scale up innovations.

At Resonance, we firmly believe that innovation is not something that “others” within the firm do. Rather, it is something that every employee—no matter their role or function—can and should be engaged in. Seen this way, innovation is not the job of a singular individual or team but rather a reflection of company culture and values.

How Resonance is building a culture of innovation

How We Are Building a Culture of Innovation

Company strategy.

Our corporate strategy and annual plan highlight innovation as a key priority and objective area. These objectives, in turn, flow down to employees across the firm through Professional Development Plans (PDPs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). That which is measured gets done. Therefore, by measuring innovation, we ensure that it is—and remains—a focus within the firm.

Idea management.

We developed a Resonance Innovation Process for taking in ideas and managing them, from concept through execution. This stage-gated pipeline allows even a small organization, such as Resonance, to manage a portfolio of innovative and award-winning projects.

Staff initiative.

This September, we will be hosting a company-wide innovation tournament, and the top ideas coming out of that event will be put into our innovation pipeline. We will allocate staff hours and budgets to those ideas so staff have the incentive, resources and, most importantly, the time to develop them.

By taking these simple but significant steps, Resonance is weaving innovation into the core culture of what we do—creating value for clients and establishing lasting social, economic, and environmental impacts in the places we work.

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If you are a corporate leader and would like to be a part of a discussion about these and other issues in the presidential transition, contact Resonance Strategic Partnerships Manager, Seth Olson.