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Values at the Vanguard: Leading Innovation with Integrity

"The heart of innovation lies not in the idea itself but in the values that breathe life into it. It’s these values that determine its impact and legacy." - John Lewis

The words of John Lewis resonate with relevance because, increasingly, many of the leaders and organizations I'm currently coaching and consulting with are interested in exploring the relationship between innovation and organizational values. Why is this? There is a realization that innovation is about more than just introducing new ideas or technologies. We're beginning to embrace the idea that innovation is about culture, guiding principles, and way of thinking. As a result, there's an interest in understanding how being innovative and adapting in a rapidly changing landscape aligns with an organization's core values, beliefs, and guiding principles. This alignment between values and innovation is crucial for fostering a sustainable, meaningful, transformative culture that creates lasting value. How can we manage this relationship between innovation and values?


Lessons on Aligning Innovation With Values

  1. Integrating Values with Innovation. This is one way for leaders to explore how the organization's core values can drive innovative thinking by ensuring every new idea resonates with the organization's core identity. It aligns with your core values and how your values impact your approach. Integrating values with innovation is essential for creating initiatives that are not only groundbreaking but also resonate with the team's ethos and purpose.

  2. Values as a North Star for Change: During the tumultuous innovation journey and times of change, values can guide decisions by providing ethical integrity, consistency, and sustainability by ensuring that innovations align with long-term goals and ethical standards. These values can add the value needed to help the organization achieve desired results and impact. 

  3. Cultivating a Values-Driven Culture of Innovation: By embedding values into the DNA of your innovation strategy, you can foster a culture where creativity and integrity walk hand in hand. When we create a culture of embracing innovation and values, the power of shared beliefs fosters an environment where innovation is nurtured, valued, and sustained. This creates a strong foundation for new ideas to flourish. 


Innovation and Values Alignment Questions:

  1. How do your current innovation strategies reflect your organization's core values and beliefs?

  2. How can your organization's guiding principles be better integrated into your innovation processes? 

  3. How can leaders ensure that innovations reinforce and enhance the existing organizational culture?


Innovation and Values Interactive Exercises:

  1. Values and Innovation Alignment Workshop: Engage in a hands-on workshop where team members visually map the connection between current innovations and organizational values, fostering a deeper understanding and alignment.


  1. Principle-Centric Ideation Session: Conduct a creative session focused on generating innovative ideas anchored explicitly in one or more of the organization's guiding principles. Encourage creativity and open-mindedness.


  1. Value-Based Innovation Sprint: Initiate a short-term innovation project where teams create solutions that epitomize a chosen organizational value, merging theory with practical application.


When aligned with organizational values, beliefs, and guiding principles, innovation becomes more than just a tool for growth; it has the power to guide and inspire transformative impact inside the organization and beyond. This approach ensures that innovations are compelling and resonate deeply with the organization's identity and purpose. When innovation and values operate in unison, they communicate the profound essence of who we are and what we stand for.


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