Being innovative means solving a problem in a unique and creative way. Companies like Google, Apple, GE and Facebook have made billions because innovation is a principal value in everything they do. Given the positive associations with it, every organization likes to think it fosters innovation, but unfortunately, the truth is often much different.
According to research recently published in the Journal of Business Venturing, which looked at two decades of data on 62 countries, both individualistic and nationalistic cultures support innovation. While it’s not a major surprise that individualism is strongly associated with innovation, a more intriguing finding is that cultures that value the success of the group and have high degrees of patriotism also encourage innovation in their people. Countries like Japan and Sweden, for instance, are traditionally more collectivist but are also extremely innovative.
For more on the qualities of truly innovative cultures, head over to my column at the AMEX Open Forum.