Innovation culture and corporate success: Dr. Malte Busch at the Amprion Innovation Symposium

Our innovation expert Dr. Malte Busch spoke at the Amprion Innovation Symposium at the Zeche Zollverein in Essen on the role of innovation culture for corporate success.

Malte Busch, Jan Peter Getzlaff and Sebastian Hopp (left to right)

Moderated by Ilka Gronewold, our innovation expert Dr. Malte Busch from the Joint Innovation Hub joined Sebastian Hopp (Managing Director, Grubengold) and Jan Peter Getzlaff (Head of Digital Innovation and IT Steering, Amprion GmbH) to discuss the role of organizational ambidexterity, analog and digital innovation, and what corporations can learn from start-ups.

In his opening speech, Dr. Busch explained that companies cannot simply "prescribe" a culture of innovation, nor can teams be magically endowed with entrepreneurial spirit. Rather, it takes a great deal of effort on the part of everyone involved to form and develop a culture of innovation and the innovation mindset that goes with it. Dr. Busch's guiding thesis: "Organizations with an 'ambidextrous' and paradoxical innovation culture are more transformative and innovative."

An ambidextrous and paradoxical innovation culture thrives on the interplay of seemingly opposing approaches. Ambidexterity refers to an organization's ability to efficiently and productively leverage existing assets (technologies, competencies, etc.) while simultaneously envisioning new business models, recognizing potential, and thinking in terms of larger time horizons.

In terms of paradoxical innovation culture, the Joint Innovation Hub regularly conducts workshops with companies to develop together the dimensions and their counterparts that are desirable and can be successively developed to make a team more innovative and successful in the long term. Dimensions that should ideally be embedded in the corporate culture are:

  • Willingness to experiment
  • Learning culture/"error culture"
  • Psychological security
  • Collaboration
  • Flat hierarchies

Often neglected, however, is the other side of the coin. Harvard professor Pisano (2019) called this the "not-so-fun counterparts" of the above dimensions.

  • Willingness to experiment, but with high discipline.
  • Learning culture/"culture of error", but with high intolerance for incompetence
  • Psychological safety, but with brutal openness
  • Collaboration, but with individual accountability
  • Flat hierarchies, but with strong leadership

Are you interested in the topic of innovation culture? Our innovation expert Dr. Malte Busch is available to you at any time and looks forward to hearing from you: malte.busch@isi.fraunhofer.de.

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