Purpose: A foundation for effective innovation

Efficienarta_Diamond_no background

Graham Kenny’s HBR Blog last week “Your Company’s Purpose Is Not Its Vision, Mission, or Values” argues that a purpose statement is a valuable complement to traditional vision, mission and values statements – where it expresses the organisation’s impact on the people your enterprise is striving to serve. Kenny quotes the example of Kellogg (the food company) “Nourishing families so they can flourish and thrive.”

Efficienarta_Diamond_no background When working with enterprises I now integrate a purpose statement into a “strategic diamond” that helps promote a line of sight from purpose through strategic themes to initiatives and targets.
Purpose statements linked in this way can provide a sense of direction for the discretionary activity enterprises rely on for both continuous improvement and the development of new products and services – and thereby facilitate movement up their revenue growth “s curves”. S Curve 2

Lolly Daskal identified a sense of purpose as one of the seven habits of remarkable innovators in her recent Blog and in the second edition of my book “Strattomics“, I quote the recommendations from Ron Ashkenas that an enterprise should start their journey towards a more innovation-friendly culture by:

  1. Educating people about what innovation means for your enterprise,
  2. Building innovation into goal-setting and performance management processes,
  3. Finding and publicising examples of innovation, where people did the right things and created new value for the enterprise.

I believe that a well-crafted purpose statement can be a foundation for building an understanding of what innovation means for your enterprise (the first step towards an innovation friendly culture) and the strategic diamond a way of institutionalizing innovation into goal setting etc. (step 2 of the journey). Moreover, the combination of the diamond and S curves can also help communicate the significance of innovations as leaders publish examples of people doing the right things to create new value for the enterprise (Step 3 of the journey).


Next Steps

If these ideas resonate with you, please contact me to discuss how Efficienarta could help you develop more overt linkages between your business purpose and actions to improve continuous improvement and the development of new offerings.


Huw Morris








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