Does Your Organization Have an Innovative Mindset? Back »

Every organization, large or small, has a culture. Sometimes that culture is intentional and strategic, and sometimes it happens through a reputation that is built organically. Some organizations post their mission statements visibly and others would have a hard time finding theirs’. Other subtleties make culture evident when meetings are allowed to consistently start late, or in the way new Board members are selected.

Nothing influences culture like having leaders and influencers live out cultural principles. If they can model innovative and creative ideas and actions, the organization will likely follow suit. If they model status quo ideas and actions, the mindset of the organization becomes more fixed.

Carol Dweck, author of a book called, Mindset, describes how some people have a fixed mindset and others hold a growth mindset. Shifting organizations from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset makes innovation and creativity possible, and even popular. Here are some ways to influence that change:

  • Fail in order to learn. Innovators know that failure is a requirement for innovation. Failure really doesn’t feel very good, but think in terms of trying a beta version. Members can expect that with Version 1.0 there will be bugs to work out, and Version 2.0 will be improved with what is learned.
  • Use the term “Yet.” It’s easy to list reasons why something shouldn’t be done or changed – not enough time, resources, or talent. A growth mindset instead says, “We might not have it yet, but if we…we could make it work.” Putting the word, “yet” in the sentence opens thinking to possibility.
  • Say “Yes, and” instead on “Yes, but.” Collaborative environments create projects where the whole is better than the sum of individual contributions. This happens by building on the work each person does and allowing for creative ideas to be brought up. A “yes, and” phrase invites more discussion, while a “Yes, but” phrase limits it quickly.


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