“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” This chapter’s epigram comes from Peter Drucker (we originally thought it was Todd McCullough), and is still so true it deserves to be on a T-shirt. Our experience in the years since first writing Naked Innovation has only confirmed our belief that innovators need to address culture to get their ideas implemented. We describe how to diagnose the cultural context for change with the “Propeller Model,” which examines five critical areas: leadership, structure, process, people, and communication. Then, innovators can plot their approach which addresses creation of angst, vision, and belief—all described in a comprehensive plan.

However, it’s also true that innovation implementation typically also involves a lot of practical stuff that has to get done. There’s plenty of drama in solving these problems, which like the earlier stages of innovation, require careful coordination across disciplines, skillful management of resources, and deft deployment of a variety of tools. We don’t address this side of implementation at all. Should we? It’s a tough call—culture change is complicated enough and likely the least commonly addressed!

What seems to be working

  • Culture is a critical part of making innovations successful, and we think all innovators need to be aware of it.
  • Our sidebar on “Why Innovations Fail” addresses some important misaligned incentives—though we should offer some ways to address them, rather than just running the other way.

Areas that need more work or input

  • We could be more sympathetic to some of the reasons cultures resist change—chief among them is risk aversion, but merely pointing fingers at it won’t make it go away. What practical suggestions do you have for inspiring a (sensible) embrace of risk?
  • More importantly, which elements of practical implementation do you think we can feasibly address in this chapter? Added difficulty: what would be most useful to all readers, across all kinds of different innovations?
  • We’d love to expand the list of suggested resources–do you have any books, articles, websites, videos, or other content to point us to?
If you’ve gotten this far, thank you! After you’ve read the chapter, please post your thoughts, constructive critique, and suggestions below. Thank you!