Booz & Company just released its annual Innovation 1000 Study, a survey of over 600 innovation leaders in every industry, that asks questions related to their innovation goals and strategies. The 18 page report, chock full of tables, charts, and infographics, begins by revealing the critical (yet not overly surprising) innovation success factors: alignment with the core business strategy and creating a culture that supports innovation.
While the study, like many other innovation-related studies, offers some sobering facts (half of all companies say their corporate culture robustly supports their innovation strategy; 36 percent of all respondents admitted that their innovation strategy is not well aligned to their company’s overall strategy), it fails to address just how those companies that do succeed with their innovation efforts go about establishing, monitoring, and promoting their innovative cultures. To today’s business leaders, who find “the innovative culture” an elusive topic, the report falls short. What’s needed are the strategies, processes, competencies, and best practices that make innovative cultures so compelling and successful.
Like potty training a child or managing teams, it’s not enough to state the importance of it, what’s essential is how to actually do it.
*Each Monday, Prophet’s Chief Curator and Provocateur, Andy Stefanovich, or a member of our innovation team* shares a Monday on-ramp with Prophet employees across the globe. We’ll begin sharing them here, and encourage you to join the conversation by answering questions and providing your own comments below. Happy Monday! Prophet recently finished a story-telling project for a national U.S. clothing retailer. The project, headed up by our very own Robert Throckmorton, was designed to teach the retailer’s district and store managers the power of story-telling as an authentic way to engage consumers. One anecdote we shared was based on a fascinating study Carnegie Mellon conducted around the power of story-telling versus facts and statistics in increasing fund-raising donations.
As part of the study researchers designed a test using two different types of fund-raising letters - one fact based and the other storytelling based. Under the study design, people would come to a testing facility and completed a survey on technology. The survey was a “red herring” of sorts. As the subjects left, they were given five one dollar bills and an envelop with one of two letters soliciting donations for a fictitious non-profit that supported hungry children in a third world country
Half the audience received a version of the letter with a heart wrenching story about a little girl in Mali Africa named Rokia, and how any money donated would go to help support her and her family as they face hardships in her village.
The other half received a version of the letter that featured figures and facts about rainfall deficit percentages, the number of children affected by food shortages and percent of population affected by civil strife in several third would countries around the world.
Respondents then put whatever donation they felt appropriate in the envelope and sealed it up before returning it. The group that received the story-based narrative donated on average 48% more than the group that received the facts based letter.
The researches actually conducted a third test, using a letter that combined the facts and the story-telling, Hypothesizing that the combination would appeal to both analytical (facts) and emotional (story) audiences. In actuality, this cohort donated almost a full dollar less then the story letter alone.
The researchers concluded that we’re incapable of understanding the scale of suffering, and felt any donation was too insignificant to have an impact on “the overwhelming facts.” But we could understand the impact on a single person.
In November, our offices across the globe are volunteering to end world hunger in support of Prophet for Non-Profit. To this point, we will consider the single person and their story. One can of food might not seem significant enough to help the one billion people that go hungry tonight. But it will help one of them.*This week’s on-ramp was brought to you by Geof Hammond in our Richmond office.