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In his seminal 1937 essay, “The nature of the firm,” the economist and eventual Nobel laureate Ronald Coase argued that corporations exist to avoid the transaction costs of the free market. Yet with transaction costs plummeting (spurred by rising connectivity)...

Future-ready part 1: What does a future-ready business look like in the new normal?

The pressure to change had been building for years. Well before the COVID-19 pandemic, senior executives routinely worried that their organisations were too slow, too siloed, too bogged down in complicated matrix structures, too bureaucratic. What many leaders feared,...

Organisation Design: Restructuring or Reshuffling to enable Strategy

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How to fill the gap between Strategy and Execution

Organisations are great at setting their strategy and identifying their goals, but they fall short when it comes to their operating model review and redesign, the key component that enables the strategy and drives the achievement of goals. Operating models consist of...

Culture PART 2: The role of leaders in a culture shift

In the previous article in this series we examined the effect of COVID-19 on an organisation’s culture. Now, we turn the focus onto the role of leadership and technology in leveraging culture. When an organisation decides to change its culture – be it planned or...

Culture PART 1: Did COVID-19 signal the end for hierarchical organisations?

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, human capital is defined as: “the knowledge, skills, competencies and other attributes embodied in individuals or groups of individuals acquired during their life and used to produce goods,...

Meet MAC’s Executives: Karina Jardim, Senior Executive

“Exceptionally talented consultant” “An absolute pleasure to work with” “Driven by a desire to see people grow” If you know Karina Jardim, you know that these phrases used to describe Karina ring undoubtedly true. She is a name that is valued to every MACer, whether...

Thriving in the Age of Digital Adoption: Embracing the Workforce Ecosystem (part 2)

In the first part of this series, we looked at how the fears of technological innovation are resulting in an unproductive resistance toward modernisation, even as it gains extraordinary pace in 2021. We also delved into the importance of a growth mindset in allowing...

Thriving in the Age of Digital Adoption: Overcoming the Fear of AI (part 1)

“What if artificial intelligence takes over my job? What if I become redundant?” Every one of us has experienced technology encroaching on our lives, more and more so with each year that passes. It appears that technological innovation is a certainty that is only...

Mac Consulting



Building an innovative culture is not easy, but there are aspects that organisations can focus on to inspire employees and create a culture of innovation.


An organisation’s ability to innovate and to entrench innovation and creativity into their culture is largely dependent on the organisation’s leadership. This is because the behaviour of the leaders in an organisation has a significant influence on the attitudes and actions of an organisation’s employees. It is important that innovation is driven by leaders who are passionate about innovation and who are willing to break their old ways of working.

Leaders need to ‘live’ innovation. Being a curious leader does not only involve talking about innovation – they need to be comfortable with using innovative tools, demonstrate they are open to new and unconventional ideas, work actively to break organisational barriers to innovation and mingle with creatives within the organisation.

Leaders should also devote time to sponsor innovation projects and to promote creative idea generation that informs the innovation culture. As leaders demonstrate innovative behaviours, people will feel more comfortable expressing similar behaviours, thus creating a ripple effect throughout the organisation.


Another building block of creating an innovative culture is creativity. Creativity enables innovation and is essential for organisations to come up with new ideas, services and products that allow organisations to remain competitive.

One of the best ways to encourage creativity is by hiring people with diverse skills and from various backgrounds. If teams are comprised of people with different knowledge bases and varied backgrounds, this mix in diversity will produce more creative results in teams by providing different perspectives that widen the creative pallet.

Creating a space in which people feel comfortable to express themselves also promotes a creative environment. People within the organisation and teams should have the courage to share their ideas and disagree with their superiors. If people do not feel safe to express themselves freely, they will repeat existing ideas, share what they believe their superiors want to hear or will keep their ideas to themselves – ultimately reducing the flow of new ideas within the organisation.

It is therefore extremely important that a climate of reciprocal trust is created in which risk taking is encouraged and new ideas are welcomed openly.


The first step is wanting to build an innovative culture where employees share new ideas, but it is important to have processes in place to manage these ideas. This is where idea management comes in – by aiming to ensure that ideas do not get lost and that the best ideas, with the most potential to add to the organisation’s bottom-line, are identified. There are several cloud-based and software idea management solutions available which allow employees to create, select, improve and evaluate ideas.

Aside from providing a platform for employees to share ideas, idea management also contributes towards enabling an inclusive culture and a safe space where employees feel free to share their ideas. By providing employees with the opportunity to submit their ideas and collaborate with their peers on these ideas, their morale and engagement will go up because they will feel heard. Most people are inherently far more creative than they imagine themselves to be – by providing them with the platform to express themselves, organisations may be surprised with the ideas their employees have to improve the organisation’s performance.


By paying attention to these three elements, organisations can start fostering a culture of innovation. Companies cannot risk falling behind, as innovation is becoming key to sustained competitive advantage and growth. Leaders who are curious about innovation play a big part in driving innovation within their organisations and set the tone for building a safe environment where collaboration and idea sharing are encouraged.

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