Here is a simple assessment you can take to assess for a culture of innovation in your organization or group. We used AI to help us generate and also categorize the questions across four important categories: Mindset, Leadership, Process, and Culture.
For each of these questions, participants can rate themselves on a scale of 1-5 (1 being strongly disagree and 5 being strongly agree) to assess their mindset and behaviors or practices that contribute to a culture of innovation in their organization. Follow along (and rate on a sheet of paper or spreadsheet) with these 20 questions organized in categories that correspond to a basic framework for a culture of innovation:
Culture of Innovation Assessment
Category 1: Mindset
- How open are you to new ideas and perspectives?
- Do you actively seek out and embrace diverse viewpoints and opinions?
- How comfortable are you with ambiguity and uncertainty?
- Do you believe that failure is a necessary part of the innovation process?
- How much do you prioritize learning and growth?
Category 2: Leadership
- Does your leadership encourage risk-taking and experimentation?
- Do they provide resources and support for innovation initiatives?
- How much do they empower and trust their employees?
- Do they reward and recognize innovative ideas and efforts?
- Do they actively solicit feedback and suggestions from employees?
Category 3: Process
- Is there a formal process for submitting and evaluating new ideas in your organization?
- How well does your organization collaborate across teams and departments?
- Do you have the necessary tools and resources to develop and test new ideas?
- Is there a clear understanding of how innovation initiatives align with business goals?
- How does your organization measure and track innovation efforts?
Category 4: Culture
- How much does your organization value and celebrate innovation?
- Is there a sense of psychological safety and trust among team members?
- How well do employees work together to solve problems and generate new ideas?
- Does your organization provide opportunities for cross-functional collaboration and knowledge sharing?
- Do employees feel empowered to take risks and pursue innovative ideas?
Acting on your Innovation Culture Assessment Results
After you’ve rated 1-5 for each question, tabulate the total score per category. The highest scoring category may be a strength or asset to build upon. The lowest scoring category may be an opportunity for action. Here are tips for each of the categories.
Category 1: Mindset Tips
Fostering a culture of innovation in an organization requires an open mindset, one that is receptive to new ideas and perspectives. If you scored low in Category 1: Mindset on the self-assessment for a culture of innovation, it may indicate that you may be struggling to maintain an open mindset. Here are some tips to help you improve your mindset:
- Seek out new perspectives: One of the best ways to cultivate an open mindset is to expose yourself to new perspectives. Seek out diversity of thought by engaging with people from different backgrounds, attending workshops, and reading books or articles outside of your area of expertise. This will help you to broaden your perspective and challenge your assumptions.
- Practice empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. It is a key component of an open mindset. Practice putting yourself in others’ shoes to see things from their perspective. This will help you to better understand their needs and challenges, and may lead to new insights and ideas.
- Embrace failure: Failure is an inevitable part of innovation. In order to be open to new ideas, you must be willing to take risks and try new things. Embrace failure as a learning opportunity, and don’t be afraid to experiment and take risks. This will help you to develop a growth mindset and view challenges as opportunities for growth.
- Challenge your assumptions: We all have biases and assumptions that can limit our thinking. Challenge your assumptions by asking questions, seeking out alternative viewpoints, and testing your hypotheses. This will help you to avoid getting stuck in your own thinking and to remain open to new ideas.
- Be curious: Cultivate a sense of curiosity and wonder about the world around you. Ask questions, explore new topics, and seek out new experiences. This will help you to stay open-minded and to continue learning and growing.
Improving your mindset is an ongoing process that requires practice and patience. By cultivating an open mindset, you will be better equipped to foster a culture of innovation in your organization, and to be a more effective collaborator and problem-solver.
Category 2: Leadership Tips
Leadership is a key component of fostering a culture of innovation in an organization. If you scored low in Category 2: Leadership on the self-assessment for a culture of innovation, it may indicate that there is room for improvement in the way you lead and manage others. Here are some tips to help you improve your leadership skills:
- Encourage risk-taking: Innovation requires taking risks and trying new things. As a leader, it’s your job to encourage your team to take risks and experiment with new ideas. Create a safe space where failure is seen as an opportunity to learn and grow, and provide support and encouragement to your team as they try new things.
- Foster a culture of collaboration: Innovation often requires input and expertise from multiple people. As a leader, it’s important to foster a culture of collaboration where individuals are encouraged to share their ideas and work together to solve problems. Encourage cross-functional teams and create opportunities for people to work outside of their usual areas of expertise.
- Lead by example: As a leader, you set the tone for the organization. Lead by example by demonstrating a willingness to take risks, being open to new ideas, and fostering a culture of collaboration. Model the behavior you want to see in others and encourage your team to do the same.
- Provide resources and support: Innovation requires resources and support. As a leader, it’s your job to provide your team with the resources they need to be successful, whether it’s access to funding, training, or technology. Provide the support your team needs to experiment with new ideas and take risks.
- Celebrate successes: Celebrate successes, no matter how small. Innovation can be a slow and difficult process, and it’s important to recognize and celebrate progress along the way. Celebrating successes can help to motivate your team and keep them engaged in the innovation process.
Improving your leadership skills is an ongoing process that requires practice and patience. By encouraging risk-taking, fostering a culture of collaboration, leading by example, providing resources and support, and celebrating successes, you can help to create a culture of innovation in your organization and become a more effective leader.
Category 3: Process Tips
Category 3: Process is a critical component of fostering a culture of innovation in an organization. A low score in this category on the self-assessment for a culture of innovation may indicate that there is room for improvement in the processes your organization uses to generate and implement new ideas. Here are some tips to help you improve your organization’s innovation processes:
- Identify and prioritize opportunities for innovation: Start by identifying opportunities for innovation in your organization. Look for areas where you can make improvements or where there may be unmet needs. Prioritize these opportunities based on their potential impact and feasibility.
- Create a structured approach to innovation: Innovation requires a structured approach that includes processes for generating, evaluating, and implementing new ideas. Create a framework that outlines the steps involved in each stage of the innovation process, and make sure everyone in your organization understands and follows this framework.
- Foster cross-functional collaboration: Innovation often requires input and expertise from multiple people. Foster a culture of collaboration where individuals are encouraged to share their ideas and work together to solve problems. Encourage cross-functional teams and create opportunities for people to work outside of their usual areas of expertise.
- Encourage experimentation and prototyping: Innovation requires experimentation and prototyping. Encourage your team to test and refine new ideas through small-scale experiments and prototypes. This approach can help you to quickly identify what works and what doesn’t, and make improvements before scaling up.
- Measure and evaluate results: Measuring and evaluating the results of your innovation efforts is critical to understanding what’s working and what’s not. Set clear goals and metrics for your innovation initiatives, and regularly evaluate your progress against these goals. Use this feedback to make improvements and refine your innovation processes over time.
Improving your organization’s innovation processes is an ongoing process that requires continuous improvement and learning. By identifying and prioritizing opportunities for innovation, creating a structured approach to innovation, fostering cross-functional collaboration, encouraging experimentation and prototyping, and measuring and evaluating results, you can help to create a culture of innovation in your organization and improve your processes for generating and implementing new ideas.
Category 4: Culture Tips
Category 4: Culture is a critical component of fostering a culture of innovation in an organization. A low score in this category on the self-assessment for a culture of innovation may indicate that there is room for improvement in the culture your organization has developed around innovation. Here are some tips to help you improve your organization’s innovation culture:
- Encourage risk-taking: Innovation requires taking risks and trying new things. Encourage your team to take calculated risks and reward them for their efforts, even if the outcome is not successful. Embrace failure as a learning opportunity and encourage experimentation.
- Foster a growth mindset: A growth mindset is essential for innovation. Encourage your team to embrace challenges, persist in the face of obstacles, and learn from criticism. Encourage a culture of continuous learning and development.
- Create a sense of purpose: People are more motivated when they feel their work has a greater purpose. Connect your team’s work to a broader mission or purpose that resonates with them. This can help to create a sense of shared purpose and motivate your team to pursue innovation.
- Provide resources and support: Innovation requires resources and support. Make sure your team has the resources and tools they need to innovate, and provide support and guidance throughout the innovation process. Encourage collaboration and provide opportunities for your team to work together on innovation projects.
- Celebrate successes: Celebrate your team’s successes, no matter how small they may be. Recognize and reward innovation efforts, and share success stories throughout the organization. This can help to build momentum and create a culture where innovation is valued and celebrated.
Improving your organization’s innovation culture is an ongoing process that requires continuous improvement and learning. By encouraging risk-taking, fostering a growth mindset, creating a sense of purpose, providing resources and support, and celebrating successes, you can help to create a culture of innovation in your organization and improve the culture around innovation.
Reflection on Assessing your Culture of Innovation
When you followed along with the 20 questions above by giving a 1-5 rating, you were quantitatively assessing. You can add up the totals for each question in the respective categories. What was the highest rated category? What category had the lowest total rating?
Now it’s time to get qualitative and reflective. What did you notice about the results? Here are some reflection questions that people can ask themselves (and even discuss with others) after completing this assessment:
- What surprised me about my scores?
- Are there areas where I feel my organization is strong in fostering a culture of innovation?
- Are there areas where I think my organization needs improvement in fostering a culture of innovation?
- How can I contribute to fostering a culture of innovation in my organization?
- Are there any barriers that prevent me from being more innovative in my work, and how can I overcome them?
- What steps can I take to cultivate a more open mindset and be more receptive to new ideas and perspectives?
- How can I encourage others in my organization to take risks and experiment with new ideas?
- How can I help to create a process for testing new ideas in my organization?
- What resources would be helpful in fostering innovation in my organization?
- How can I work with my colleagues to create a more innovative and collaborative work environment?
Innovation Culture Assessment Conclusion
Most people are familiar with strengths, style, behavior or personality assessments (like the Myers-Briggs, DISC, or StrengthsFinder) and their use in organizations. You’ve probably taken a number of them or even attended a workshop to unpack your results. The opportunity now is to get specific with assessments for focused purposes, such as leading or contributing to a more innovative culture.
Learn more about various innovation assessments and also try our design thinking self-assessment. Feel free to reach out to us or explore any of our innovation workshops or design thinking training where we can use assessments for awareness, understanding, learning, and development.