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Culture, Innovation and Business: A Modern Day Story of Cooperation

Friday, 03 August 2018, 21:12 IST
By SiliconIndia

Culture, Innovation and Business: A Modern Day Story of Cooperation

Human societies always develop cultural means and methods of expressing themselves to be able to integrate and collaborate with others, while also creating structures and institutions to support such apurpose. In today’s globalist world, most culture takes form and shape in the vicinity of business and commerce, at least those which have an impact on the general public. It can be stated that culture in today’s world is of significant commercial value. Whether it be business people taking pride in their new deals or sports fans travelling around the world in support of their teams, materialistic gains and factors involved in such procedures prevail as victorious.

Similarly, whether it be teenagers bragging about their flashy new cars or artists demonstrating their most precious and intricate works at various differentcommercial venues and museums all around the globe, it is understood thatthe capitalist culture has managed to prevail as the victor.

As culture and innovation become more integrated and intertwined subjects, the corporate element that is widely dominant in our lives begins to become more apparent,leading one to investigate into the relationship between culture, innovation and corporatism to make sense of change and innovation in today’s world.

Brady Josephson for the Huffington Postreports on his interview with Brett Hagler, the current CEO and co-founder of New Story, which is a non-profit company that intends on building homes for those in need around the world. New Story has been “recently recognized by Fast Company as one of the 10 Most Innovative Companies in the world within the not-for-profit sector for 2017” and therefore Hagler’s views on culture and business are more than welcome for anyone seeking to understand the optimum combination of the two mentioned concepts. Hagler refers to three integral principles of starting an innovative non-profit culture, which are namely “be distinct and true to your core beliefs”, “don’t be afraid of failure” and “start small and where you are.” On top of such principles, the CEO also lists six core beliefs which should be embodied by such organizations in the name of becoming successful in today’s commercially demanding markets. According to thelist, technology should always be respected and implemented for having a significant impact on the society, experiences should be human-centered, while resilient and stable housing communities should be formed for social change. In addition, the pursuit of social change should be open source, a diverse ecosystem of partners is a necessity to succeed and all the ideas, hypotheses and beliefs should be based on and supported by data. Hagler and his company share a common methodology of progress and development in their pursuit to supply needy communities with reliable, comfortable, functional and safe housing: to understand the reasons for social problems and utilize the available resources to come up with solutions. In this paradigm, intelligent leadership should be coupled with available resources to achieve success and bothshould be parts of a cultural methodology.

Micah Solomon for Forbes magazine also reports on the relationship between culture and innovation within the context of modern day business to point out possible ways to maximize employee morale and performance. The author initially refers to a corporate company culture as a possible solution to the problems of demotivation and demoralization. In Solomon’s model, the innovation and change are not imposed by the CEO or the higher echelons of business administration but rather through the will and determination of the regular workers. In such a strategy, the author names four principle approaches to achieve success and build a strong company philosophy of innovation. Solomon thinks that companies should “encourage innovation in non-obvious areas” to help their employees overcome the limitations of their visions regarding their companiesto create better definitions in their minds. Similarly, the author asserts that companies should “encourage the search for accidental innovation”, meaning that as long as employees are kept in an environment of change, they will create innovation by intention or mistake. The author’s third principle is titled “encourage an attitude of dissatisfaction,”referring to how company administrations are entitled to respect concerned or dissatisfied views about their procedures to learn from them and fix errors. For the final principle, Solomon states that companies should “strive to build a blame-free culture” where employees should accept mistakes and wrongdoings, without being concerned about extreme punishment or consequences. All the fours principles intend on defining change and innovation within a compromising, accepting yet efficient corporate culture to bring about progress through the minds and actions of the regular workers. Solomon’s vision is therefore fully compatible with any business that seeks to establish a culture for progress and therefore can be applied to a globalist scheme as well.

Maddy Savage for BBC approaches the subject matter from a different perspective, asking the question “Is boasting good or bad for business?” to provide a psychological evaluation of business success through the perspective of the emergent Swedish startup culture. According to the author’s observations, the Swedish business culture, regardless of its recent success stories, chooses to remain silent and modest about its endeavors to direct its efforts, capital and energy to distributing the benefits and social goods of business innovation equally among the Swedish population. The country houses only 10 million in its large land mass while constantly producingtechnological progress and innovation for sustaining billion dollar projects such as Spotify, Skype, iZettle, Klarna and of course, Ikea, to dominate the highest rankings in Europe’s technology markets. The country’s modest approach to technological innovation and the pursuant business development rests upon the assumption that this way, every Swede can be kept on the same page and on a similar level of motivation. The traditional method of bringing innovation in the Western business culture is to announce and promote such developments through “individual rockstar CEOs” by announcing how they are “killing it” with their trade. In the Swedish model, however, a more communal approach is embodied to maximize every employee’s contributions to create a communally accepted optimal solution. In the Swedish culture, there is the “Jantelagen,” or in English “the Law of Jante,” which is a “consensus-based culture” based on a novel by the Danish-Norwegian author, AkselSandemose where the centuries-old tradition of modesty and anti-chauvinism is story lined.The Swedish society values and promotes collaboration and cooperation more than anything else, and has produced social mechanisms to include the Swedish business world within its domain. As a result, the society pressures extravagant business entities and their executives to share their earnings with the public, while learning from the public’s experiences to create egalitarian standards of living. As the rich becomes more aware and the middle class becomes more vocal in Sweden, the society takes pride in its businesses and their success stories while not bragging about them to continue the trend of progress and development.

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