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10 Ideas for an Innovation Culture

By Joanne Jacobs

I can still remember the panic setting into my mind. I had been running new venture startups for PwC and had spent weeks thinking through and validating our product roadmap. Potential customers were lined up. We were chugging through the backlog and it felt like we were really making progress.

And then I realised that we had actually inherited a culture. Many of the team had come from Sydney’s growing startup community, and had worked together previously at places like Pollenizer. This manifested in everything from the ways of working, scrum and agile methods, technology and teaming approaches  right through to the shared sense of humour and sense of camaraderie. Looking back, it’s clear that Australia’s startup ecosystem owes a great debt to the capacity building and vision of founders like Phil Morle, Clare Hallam and Mick Liubinskas. Their work laid the foundations for many of the startups, accelerators and co-working spaces that followed – along with the many individuals who have gone on to run and lead startups around the world.

But as I looked at my team and the vision that we had for our platform, I realised we needed something unique to us – something that matched our plans for the future. We needed a culture we could claim and own ourselves.

The same applies these days to every client and every startup that we work with. We spend a great deal of time teasing out the words that tell the story and business model of a business, not just because it forms the basis of your brand (or what we like to refer to as “brand physics”), but because it informs and helps articulate the culture that you want your business and teams to embody. So what does this look like? Here are ten ideas that you can consider implementing in your business to drive that sense of innovation culture:

  1. Clearly articulate and share your vision, mission and messaging in such a way that it highlights your values and value proposition
  2. Build out, review and regularly iterate your one page business model (we prefer the Shared Value Canvas)
  3. Support regular weekly check-ins to drive performance
  4. Align project and organisational priorities that put your clients, customers AND teams at the centre
  5. Support teams and processes with enabling technology (see our Must-Have Apps)
  6. Share weekly wins and updates to your entire team
  7. Encourage information and knowledge sharing with lunch-and-learn sessions, ideation boards and innovation showcases
  8. Escape the office for downtime and team-community bonding
  9. Review quarterly achievements and highlight strengths as well as areas for improvement
  10. Take the best ideas and feedback and put it into action.


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