Innovation, usually understood as the introduction of something new or significantly improved, like products, services or processes is key to firms competitiveness. Firms operating in an increasingly complicated and unpredictable economic and social environment always seek new ways of conducting their business through innovation and often organization culture is recognized as one of the main innovation drivers.
Firms, particularly the ones from the “knowledge economy”, with a culture that strongly supports innovation should use this important intangible asset to create sustainable competitive advantages, staying ahead and keeping competitors away from the most profitable segments and revenue streams. However is very difficult to flourish a truly innovation-supportive culture. The main reason is because is not easy to raise and turn “innovation culture” practices explicit, particularly in the case of knowledge-based practices. In fact, innovation culture cannot be manufactured and simply add to a firm.
Culture is part of the DNA of every firm and its founders and leaders create and shape it constantly. It is easy to find the values of an organization very well expressed, even if not always-put into practice. Yet it is hard to find a written and formal manifestation of the organizations culture, particularly for innovation-supportive culture.
No matter all the difficulties and constraints, creating a culture that supports innovation practices could lead to more sustainable competitive advantages since it is much more difficult for the competitors to replicate the “innovation culture” and use it against the firm.