What really drives innovation at the individual, team and organizational level?

Lots of stuff. And then, lots more stuff – sprinkled with a special sauce.

While it’s true that no one recipe holds all of the answers to this burning question about what really drives innovation – there are required ingredients. In my role as a self-described innovation chef, I’ve noticed that one of the reasons the conversation around innovation gets so mixed up is because people are focusing on different aspects of the innovation pie. To help add some clarity, here are 3 perspectives that get talked about as if they are all the same (these will seem glaringly obvious):

Individual – What might be all the things I should be doing to grow and foster my creative superpower such that I am being more successful with innovation?

Team – How might we be able to collaborate more effectively – getting a diverse view of situations – we learn to be dynamo creative collaborators that deliver new value in a way that effectively challenges the status quo?

Organization – In what ways might we leverage strategic action to grow a climate and culture of innovation – our organization thrives during change instead of dying a slow (or sudden) death?

Here are tips, for each area, to help kick-start your thinking about how to drive innovation:


1. Take personal responsibility for making innovation happen

2. Decide where do you want to play within innovation – Do you want to be a change agent, innovation facilitator, creative thinker???

Read Do you have what it takes to be an Innovative Leader?

3. Develop and keep your creative thinking sharpened

Learn new tool-sets, mind-sets and skill-sets for innovation. Here’s a link to 15 free divergent & convergent tool cards.

Keep a broad diversity of inputs feeding your brain – trends, areas outside of your core expertise (stuff you’re not even interested in), etc. Feel free to subscribe to our newsletter.


1.  Develop Creative Collaboration Skills (yes, this means training) – Read, 4 Keys to Making Innovation Training Stick.

2. Set clear goals & expectations – Creativity & innovation need to be prioritized in much the same way as hitting your quarterly goals.

3. Hold each other accountable to innovation fostering behaviors – Read, The Secret of Rewarding Innovation.


1. Assess your current state – do an innovation culture audit. Where are you putting effort – what strategic action areas are you ignoring – what are your dangerous obsessions? Read Demystifying Innovation Culture Efforts.

2.  Build innovation responsibilities into your enterprise
 – not just in R&D and new product development. Read, Demystifying Innovation Culture Efforts.

3. Develop an enterprise-wide innovation strategy – Read, Focus on Growing Innovation in Your Company.

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