• Andy Goram

Principles Behind An Innovative Culture

Updated: Nov 12, 2021

Is there a blueprint or a magic formula to having an innovative culture that we can all follow?Dan Toma, a leading thinker on innovation speaks to your host, Andy Goram from Bizjuicer, and shares his thoughts and insights on the guiding principles that lie behind having an effective and innovative, workplace culture. In this episode of the Sticky From The Inside Podcast they discuss the processes. measurements and actions that lie behind making your business truly innovative, and not just a company that has the word innovation in its vision statement.


The pair follow the chapters in Dan's book "Innovation Accounting", to outline the steps that should be taken to ensure sustainable innovation lies at the heart of your company culture. They dig into the problems companies face in trying to do that and Dan offers up some advice on how to improve the situation in your business and the levels of employee engagement and team cohesion at the same time.


Below is a full transcript of the conversation. You can listen to the full episode here.


Two men discussing the principles behind having an innovation culture
Dan Toma (Right) and Andy Goram (left) discuss the principles of having a culture of innovation.

00:00:10 Andy Goram

Hello, and welcome to Sticky from the Inside. The Employee Engagement Podcast that looks at how to build stickier, competition-smashing, consistently successful organisations, from the inside out.


I'm your host, Andy Goram, and I'm on a mission to help more businesses turn the lights on behind the eyes of their employees, light the fires within them and create tonnes more success for everyone.


This podcast is for all those who believe that's something worth going after and would like a little help and guidance in achieving that. Each episode we dive into the topics that can help create what I call stickier businesses. The sort of businesses where people thrive and love to work, and where more customers stay with you and recommend you to others because they love what you do and why you do it.


So, if you want to take the tricky out of being sticky, listen on.


00:01:10 Andy Goram

OK, then today I want to take another look at culture building, but from a slightly different perspective. It's all very well talking about how important culture is for business, but what does that actually mean? It's going to be different for every business, right? So, how do you know what culture your business should have, or even what culture your business needs to be successful and help you sustainably and continually grow, keep your top talent and attract great new talent in the future? Is there a magic formula? Is there a secret blueprint we can follow to help us do that?


Well, my guest today is Dan Toma. He's a leading thinker around the topic of innovation, an enterprise innovation strategist and the author of the book “The Corporate Startup”. He's also recently written another book called “Innovation Accounting”, and within the pages of this book he seeks to give some guidance on some of these cultural blueprint things. Though he’s not promising on the secret formula stuff, he does believe that there are set of clear, guiding principles and processes that can help you make better decisions and build better, more effective workplace cultures.

So, let's hear what Dan’s got to say. Welcome to the show, Dan! How are you doing?


00:02:33 Dan Toma

All good. Thank you very much for having me, Andy.

00:02:36 Andy Goram

Ah, my pleasure my friend. I've got to be honest, when you told me about the title of the book, “Innovation Accounting”, I was like, “I what? I don't do accounting on this podcast. What are you talking about?” But it looks something very, very different, right?


00:02:51 Dan Toma

Yeah, we use it like though because this is what a lot of people in our space refer to, measuring innovation. And this is a common term, if you want, for measuring innovation in general. So, we decided to go with that because, we knew that people in that space, will definitely look for the term. It's very Google-friendly, if you want.

However, as you just mentioned, the book talks about all aspects of innovation from the perspective of how do we measure. So, we look at teams, we look at culture, we look at capability, we look at how do you measure, for example, open innovations such as startup collaborations. So, we look at everything innovation-wise, but through the filter, or through the lens of measurement.


00:03:40 Andy Goram

Brilliant! Oh, I'm glad I got a better understanding of that, or we may never have talked about this and that would have been a real waste. So, look, Dan, do me a favour, my friend. Can you just give us a little bit of background on you and what you're currently working on, just so my listeners can get a better idea of who you are and what you're up to.


00:03:55 Dan Toma

Sure, sure for sure. My background is actually in entrepreneurship. So I started my first... My first actual job was having my own company. And according to my family, for all the years I only had one single real job, meaning that I was employed by a large organization in the Telco space. But all things aside and no laughing aside, I think the entrepreneurship experience that I had came in handy when I was with that with that Major Corporation. And that's when the idea of the first book started. Because as I was working in that company, I realised that the processes they were using for building new products were essentially backwards. Backwards. Like literally backwards. They were starting from where a startup will end and working their way back to where the startup would actually start. And that prompted me to, together, obviously, with the team, to write “The Corporate Startup.” And one of the things that we tried to cover was also measuring. So, if we had a chapter in the first book about measuring innovation, now we have a full book on that.

What I'm currently doing together with people like Cris Beswick, actually, that you had here on the show, we have a small consultancy company, so we help larger organisations become more innovative, while at the same time optimising their existing core business.

00:05:26 Andy Goram

Yeah, and I think that spirit, or culture of innovation is something businesses, right now, are really crying out for, right? Especially after the last 18 months, two years, where things have changed, landscapes have changed, the World’s a more disruptive place, and being able to think and change and innovate is something that is really, really needed, right? You're seeing that, I guess?

00:05:50 Dan Toma

Yeah, no 100%. The problem... the big problem with most companies is that they haven't invested in innovation, in building a culture of innovation sooner. There is this Chinese proverb that says that

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is today.”

I think this speaks for a lot of organisations that are now considering innovation the best time. They should have invested in the culture of innovation and in assorted processes, was probably 5-10 years ago. For the ones that haven’t the second-best time is today. Actually, it's a Monday, so it's even better.

00:06:35 Andy Goram

Mondays are good. Make them good. Make them work for you. I totally believe in that my friend. So look, before we get into the book, because I think there's some really interesting themes that come out of it, this book “Innovation Accounting” and how it relates to building better workplace cultures, how would you... how would you sum that up?

00:06:54 Dan Toma

Yeah, I think. I think I'm going to answer this a bit broader now.


00:07:00 Andy Goram

OK.

00:07:00 Dan Toma

I think the biggest problem with most organisations is that they try to copy the homework off of the company across the street. And by copying the homework, I mean they look at Netflix and they say, “Oh! We want to build a culture that Netflix has.” Or they look at Amazon or they look at Gore or Fam, doesn't matter. The thing is that those cultures are fit for purpose, and that's very important. Fit for purpose. You need to start... obviously you can inspire yourself from Netflix, from Facebook from wherever you want, but you need to understand what's the purpose of your organisation. Why does your company exist? What's the ultimate goal of your company? And then try to build a culture that serves that particular end goal. And since all end goals are different, then every culture should be also different.

00:08:03 Andy Goram

So, if we take that as our inspiration or your inspiration for writing this book, what do you think this book is really about? What's at its core?

00:08:10 Dan Toma

I think at the core is essentially principles on how to measure anything innovation-related. Let's talk specifically about culture. We don't propose a set of indicators because, as I said earlier, every culture is different. However, we propose a framework, if you want, that you can use in order to measure your innovation culture and to also measure your, let's say, activities towards building an innovation culture.

Uhm, specifically speaking about this, we say OK, you start with the vision. You start with the goal of innovation. You start with what is your desired outcome from innovation. I don't know, we want to build new products or more products in a specific market or whatever it's going to be for your organisation. And then you look at what are the cultural traits that you need in order to see those particular tangible results. I don't know, let's say, for example, I want to build more products in a certain market. Then obviously I need people in my organisation to come up with better ideas. To come up with better ideas, it means that we have psychological safety in new organisation. People are OK to speak their mind. Uh, conformity is not necessarily something that we encourage. All of those things, right? So, you identify a pretty... essentially a list of attributes that connect with your end desired goal for the culture of innovation you want to build. And then you measure those attributes. You measure, do we have psychological safety in the organisation? Uhm, do we tolerate conformity, or do we sanction it? How do we? How? Where do we stand at the moment when it comes to conformity? Are people able to speak their mind? Do we have the right, uh, even software infrastructure to collect all these ideas, right? So, everything that's connected to your end goal.


And then once you've measured this and you get a pulse, if you want, off of your current status on those attributes, then you can start developing them. You see, apparently, we don't have psychological safety in the workplace. Let's do something about it. And that doing that means, uh, putting people for training, communicating better, all these... all these other activities you can do, to enable psychological safety. And then, you are going to measure again, the attribute, and hopefully, this increased right? People feel safer, they are more empowered, and probably in, I don't know, a couple of months, or even more, you're going to see the tangible results you were aiming for. So, what we're proposing... we're proposing to people to understand this framework, rather than go and track psychological safety or go and track conformity or go and track creativity, or whatever, because as I said, every organisation is different, and every organization has a different goal in mind when it comes to investing in innovation and investing in building a culture of innovation.


00:11:27 Andy Goram

So, I'm interested in this, because I mean, we'll get into the principles and the framework specifically that you that you go through within the book, but in your experience, Dan, how good are businesses at lining up these goals or outcomes with the required behaviors they're going to need to get there? Do they find it an easy process, or is it just a mess? I mean, what have you seen?


00:11:53 Dan Toma

Well, I'm going to be very honest. I think that

most organisations have a big misalignment between the core business, the innovation strategy, and the culture that they have.

All these three elements are pretty much moving in independent directions. Some of them might move for a brief period of time, or on a certain project in the same direction, but I'm seeing a lot of misalignment. In particular a misalignment between the culture and the innovation ambition. Uhm, I think in the past years, organisations have gotten a bit better at aligning core business strategy with the innovation strategy. Because if you would have asked me this question five years ago, it will be like a complete mess. You would speak the CEO or CFO for a large organisation, and then you would speak with people in the Lab, and you realise the people in the Lab, we're only investing in, let's say this shiniest, newest, thing that comes across their desk, be it drones, be it VR, be it Blockchain, be it whatever. I'm not saying that this is no longer happening, I'm saying that this is happening, but not to the extent it used to happen five years ago. And in all fairness, I think this has to do to, some extent, with the Corona crisis. Because people realise that hey, innovation is no longer just a nice to have thing, but it's actually something that can save our bacon.


00:13:32 Andy Goram

Oh my goodness! Yeah, I agree with that. I think we've seen so many businesses have to, I hate the term “pivot”. but pivot and innovate to kind of create new markets or new opportunities, because other things have been closed down over this period or they've had situations or opportunities land in their lap, and they need to need to react to those. And we've seen companies do really, really well out of that, but also, companies that have tried and failed and had disasters.

I guess, more broadly when we're talking about innovation, do companies really understand what that means in your experience? Because I know it's a very popular thing to have. So, you know any vision or mission has to have the word innovation in, or “we're innovative”, but how does that actually translate in what we're seeing, Dan?


00:14:21 Dan Toma

Yeah, I think I think again, you're just asking a very hard question. Not to me, but to the leaders listening to this podcast. And actually, I'm going to answer your question with an exercise that I'm encouraging your audience to do.

00:14:38 Andy Goram

OK


00:14:39 Dan Toma

So, to the audience, not to you Andy, but to the audience.


I want you to go back to your company no matter if you are a VP, an employee, or an Exec. I want you to go to your company, take seven or fewer peers, take twelve, or fewer peers, give each and every one of them, a Post-it note and a Sharpie, and ask them to write on that Post-it note, in no more than 90 seconds, one minute and a half, the definition of innovation for your company. 90 seconds. What do we mean when we say innovation in our company? And then collect those Post-it Notes and start to group them in clusters. Clusters made up of things that have the same definition. Of Post-it Notes that have the same definition written on them.

Uhm, we do this exercise all the time with executives. Part of the key costs that we do in particular on strategy. Because we want to prove to everyone in the organisation that there is a big misalignment between what various people think about innovation. Some people might think it's digital transformation. Some people think flying cars. Some people think somewhere in between digital transformation and flying cars. Well, you can't move as an organisation, as a group of people, you can't move in one coherent direction if you don't agree on what that first level direction is and what is the name of the thing we're doing. What this will mean for your organisation, it means that you write innovation in your vision statement, right? But then somebody will invest in flying cars, and somebody else will invest in digitizing the existing process of, I don't know, onboarding a vendor, whatever.


I'm not saying that either of them is wrong. I'm just saying that it would make more sense if we combine our forces and we go in one direction. Doesn't matter if it's flying cars or digital transformation, that's another conversation altogether, right? Do we need flying cars, or do we need to optimize the core business? But that's a totally different conversation. But this is it. I will encourage everyone to do this exercise with the Post-it Notes. It only takes 90 seconds of writing, 3 minutes of explaining, and probably another 3 minutes of clustering the data. I can tell you from my experience in groups of 20-something people, you'll get about 12 to 17 definitions of innovation.

00:17:18 Andy Goram

Just that few, wow!

00:17:20 Dan Toma

Yeah, just that few, right! it's almost everybody has their own, right?


00:17:24 Andy Goram

Exactly. And so, I think when you couple that individual interpretation of innovation and then try and uncover the behaviours, or the culture that's needed to deliver on that misalignment of vision, that's where your problem is, right?


00:17:40 Dan Toma

Exactly. And then, if you are a leader, you are going to encourage certain behaviors and certain cultures, that obviously are aligned with what you think innovation is. If you are the Exec that wrote flying cars on the Post-it note, obviously you're not going to write flying cars, you're going to say something that's super out there, or whatever definition of innovation you come up with. But let's say that it... let's use the flying cars as a proxy for that.


00:18:09 Andy Goram

Sure


00:18:10 Dan Toma

If you wrote flying cars on the Post-it note, you're probably going to need to encourage and need, different cultural traits than your colleague, than the colleague that wrote digitizing the onboarding of new employees or all vendors. Totally different things. And again, it's very difficult to work together and even if you say, "Hey, but I'm a large organisation, I can afford these kind of things,” that's totally fine, but what will happen if people need to migrate from Department A to Department B? From flying cars to digitized. Will they fit in culturally there? Or will they be rejected by their peers? Because, “Oh yeah, she's coming from flying cars and look at her. She's wearing sneakers and she's expecting the boss to, you know, be OK with all her crazy ideas and all that stuff.” “And here we're just digitalising the existing onboarding process, and we want to be a bit more rigorous with respect to what we put in. We have let's say stricter deadlines,” so on and so forth again. I'm just giving nonsense examples now, so don't take them as literally, that's what's going to happen.

00:19:23 Andy Goram

Hey! Listen! You had me at flying cars, mate. I mean, I was in with flying cars. But no, look I get... I think we get the landscape, right. And I think this is where the overwhelm, right, of trying to do culture and trying to do innovation causes businesses problems. So that's why you wrote the book, right? That's why you wrote the book...


00:19:42 Dan Toma

To some extent.


00:19:45 Andy Goram

...to try and give this framework. So, let's dig into that framework. Let's dig into these principles and you can, perhaps, you know, all these mangled bits of string, let's try and stretch them out, have a nice order and let's see where we're going. In the book you've laid everything out into the chapters, right, behind the principles. So, do you want to take us through that step by step, Dan?

00:20:09 Dan Toma

So, the way we looked at innovation accounting, and again this is from our experience of applying it in various organisations, that were different size and obviously different business lines, what we've seen a lot of people want to do, is that they want to bring everything down to one indicator. Like, give me this one indicator that measures innovation. And that's probably one of the, let's say biggest mistakes that people make because they want to synthesize everything. They want to boil down everything to one single thing. And if you don't do it for the core business, why do it for innovation? That's my, that's my question. If you don't do it in in your house, if you don't do it for your family, right, do you know you have a happy family? Well, you don't have one indicator for that, right? You have multiple indicators for that. Why do you want to do it for innovation?

So essentially, we looked at innovation on layers. That was probably one of the first things. And again, this is, this is how the entire book is structured. Our entire train of thought is structured on that. It's layers. It’s essentially, we start from measuring teams. And we looked at the performance of a team. We looked at the performance of individual teams relative to the maturity of their ideas, so on and so forth.

There's indicators there, but then you aggregate this data from one team. You aggregate the data from the other team, so on and so forth. And you have your portfolio, or your funnel view. Like, how is our funnel performing? How is our portfolio in innovation performing? Not just that one team, again, using the aggregated data from the teams.

And then there's another layer on top. It’s the strategic innovation layer, where basically we're looking at the entire company. How are we performing as a company with innovation? So, you throw in more aggregated data. You throw in data that's already collected in the financial accounting system. You mix that up and you get an idea of, is innovation a worthwhile investment for our organisation.

And then going back all the way at the bottom, you start measuring culture and capability. As I just explained, what do we want to obtain for innovation? What are the attributes that's worked that particular goal? Let's measure those attributes. But you need to have everything in sync, and you have to have everything mutually supporting. You can't have an indicator that's not connected with anything else, because it's going to be very difficult for you to understand if you're having an impact just by measuring one indicator.


And if it's not connected with anything else, why bother tracking that. We're measuring that it does.

Does this make sense? I would ask the audience first, and if it doesn't make sense, by all means drop me a line. I can definitely draw it.

00:23:14 Andy Goram

No, No, No. I mean you have a very helpful drawing which I think we’ll stick in the show notes, Dan, that kind of outlines this stuff, right? But I think what my understanding of this... you know, look, I'm not the brightest guy on the planet, but my understanding of what you're talking about here is, finding the range of indicators, performance indicators across these subsets of I guess, teams, the funnel itself, the financial measures and investment that's required. Yes, the capability and the cultural stuff and all these different relationships, so you've got a dashboard of what you consider to be key performance indicators but trying to find the links between them as well. So, they're not completely independent, so they all add up. But that could bring up a list of I don't know, 30, 30, or more indicators?


An image taken from the book "Innovation Accounting" to explain the measurement of different attributes
A simple overview of the "Innovation Accounting" attribute process

00:24:07 Dan Toma

I think so. I haven't actually counted the number of indicators we proposed in the book. But I think you're very close to 30. And again, we're not even proposing anything on cultural capability, because we said that's very, very specific to every organisation. Probably if you were to apply this in your company, you will have probably 50 indicators to look at.

Obviously, you need to decide which one is the most important for you at any given moment in time, but that's always connected with the vision of the company with the strategy. Where do we want to act? Are we interested in like, fast innovation? Are we interested in how fast we're churning good ideas? 'Cause that's one indicator. And then obviously that's connected with others downstream. And then obviously, it’s connected with culture. But that means we put our finger on this is what's important for us.

00:25:08 Andy Goram

And I guess, this is why guys like you and Cris, are helpful, because sometimes it's really hard to work that homework yourself, and be honest, right?

00:25:18 Dan Toma

To some extent, yeah, that's what I think our role is and we try, and again, this comes from my product ownership experience and product coaching experience, I try to lead with questions because I'm not an expert in banking. I'm not an expert in the airline business. I'm not an expert in engineering, or maritime technologies. However, I'm an expert in principles. In principles of innovation. I know what good looks like for a company in terms of having a culture of innovation and having robust processes for bringing new ideas to market. And I'm just going to ask the hard questions, if you want, to the executives, to the teams, to the managers there about all these things. I'm essentially putting some mirrors in front of them. And they have to look in the mirror and see if they like what they're seeing. And if they don't like it, we can work out a workout schedule for them.


00:26:17 Andy Goram

That's nice. I like that analogy of a workout schedule. I really should have gone for that run this morning, having you say that. But so, I think for me, it's possibly easier for some corporates, or for some CEOs to get their head around these sorts of KPIs, right? This dashboard of KPI's. The tough thing will be, I guess, holding themselves to account and making sure that they link. I would imagine the tougher thing in some instances, is to do with the cultural stuff, right? Because that's not necessarily a normal place and comfy place for people.


So, in terms of your principles, I mean you mentioned that, “what do you want out of your culture?” How do you support, help, question, I guess, agitate these people to really think about those principles behind defining the culture and making it happen?


00:27:14 Dan Toma

Yeah, as I said, I always try to bring it back to who you are as a company and what's your purpose. Why do you exist as an organisation? And please spare me the nonsense words. The puffy things, right? I don't want to hear stuff like, “Oh yeah, for the greater good of society” and stuff, unless you actually believe in that, and you have substantiating evidence to prove that you exist for the bigger purpose. But I really want to know why you exist, and usually you don't exist to build a product, but usually exist to alleviate the pain as a company. Alleviate the pain in users, and that pain can take on a million shapes. And I want to understand essentially what's your purpose? Why do you exist as an organisation? You exist to alleviate pain X or pain Y, and then let's try to understand what's going to encourage people in your organisation to help the end customer alleviate that particular pain. That's where I would normally, or typically start.


00:28:36 Andy Goram

And is there a sort of defined process that you take people through to help them understand that, Dan? Or is that more of an internal facing thing that that you pose the question, then step back?


00:28:48 Dan Toma

Obviously, we have a bit of a, let's say, standard process, but that's just probably steps 1, 2 and 3 of a journey that's let's say 1000 miles long. Because after 1, 2, and 3, you kind of like realise who we're dealing with. What's the ambition of the company? Where do they want to move towards, and all those things? So, it is standard to some extent, but I would say it's more customised than standard if you were to ask me. Obviously, if you will have Cris on the show, Cris would have probably had a different answer to this.


00:29:28 Andy Goram

And then that's the joy of culture. There's always a different kind of way of getting to this. I think that's the thing that does overwhelm a number of people. Sometimes when you start to think about changing a culture or tweaking a culture, it feels like the toughest task in the world. And the first question of that is how long is it going to take? And I mean, it takes time, right, to change culture. To change muscle memory. To change skill base. It's not an instant thing, right?


00:29:56 Dan Toma

So, two things here. First of all, to change a culture, in my opinion, you need to change the processes that support the culture. Change the processes to support a new culture or change the processes to prevent the old culture from, you know, multiplying, repeating itself every day. I say that in my opinion at least, again, this is my opinion,

"culture follows process."

Look at your processes. It's great to define a new culture, the new culture you want to have, but look at your processes and change the processes first. And then do all the cultural activities bit. Because people will behave in certain ways because they are forced by the governance system of your organisation to act in a certain way.

If you take an employee in your organisation and put him in Netflix, I'm sure that they will most likely perform pretty well there, and they will display a different behaviour and different culture than the one in your organisation. Why? Because Netflix uses a different process, a different governance system, then your current organisation. So, start with the processes in my opinion. And second, you asked a very good question. How long does it take? Yeah, it takes long 'cause, first of all, if it would be easy, everybody else would do it, right? And second, right, we just spoke about workouts just a couple of sentences ago. This is about going to the gym. This is not about taking a weight loss pill and then all of a sudden you look amazing. This is about putting in the effort, creating the processes, policing, policing the use of the new processes, right? Because it's very easy to hire me, hire anybody else. We can design a process. We show you how it works and then we leave. And without people to enforce those new processes, to police the use of the new processes, people will just fall back on their old behaviours. And again, falling back on the old behaviours means the old culture is still going to, you know, exist there.

00:32:11 Andy Goram

So, if I'm to sort of, I guess, try and summarise what we're looking at here, within these principles, within these guidelines... I mean the ultimate principle is, you've got to be yourself, and you got to be true to yourself, right, within this?


00:32:22 Dan Toma

100%.


00:32:24 Andy Goram

And then we're looking at finding, or discovering and aligning those key measures across that list of things that you talked about...


00:32.33 Dan Toma

Exactly.

00:32:34 Andy Goram

… teams, the funnel, investment, all those sorts of things, and then almost a combination of, ok, so what do we need the culture to be like? And by that, what does it need to do? And therefore, what are the processes that we're going to need to follow, that the culture will help us determine, right, which will then deliver those objectives? Is that it?


00:32:55 Dan Toma

100%. 100%. 100%.


00:32:58 Andy Goram

Brilliant. And I think that “give me a pill to lose weight”... I mean if you have one of those, I will take it, but...


00:33:05 Dan Toma

Anybody would!

00:33:06 Andy Goram

But you're so right, and I think this is another one of those things that just puts so many people off trying to change a culture, because it's, “Where's my return tomorrow? Where's my return tomorrow?” I mean, I often say this, I think you can make impact immediately when you change these things, but changing them, truly changing them for the outcome, does take a big investment in time and effort.

00:33:29 Dan Toma

Yeah, it's going to take years. I mean, you're going to see results, very soon, but that's because people are just going to be very enthusiastic and excited about change. Excited about it, the new, the new process, excited about the new thing. But does that stick? That's my question, to everybody. Does that stick? Is that something, that if I come back to your organisation and look inside, under the hood in, let's say, 18 months, or 24 months, or even longer, is that still there? Were you able to embed that culture? Were you able to embed that new governance system? That's the biggest issue with most organisations, is that they are able to do like, a good kickoff. Yeah, the thing is going to stick around for, let's say six months because people are still excited. But then if you look back in 24 months, the thing is no longer there.


00:34:24 Andy Goram

Yeah, well look, this podcast is called Sticky From The Inside, for a reason, right? This is about people change that lasts and has an impact. And I think you're 100% right, my friend. I think anybody can do something for short term. You know, there's an argument to say lots of businesses focus far too much on the short term because it's all about impact, impact, impact. But how sustainable is that over the long term, you know? How repeatable is it over the long term? And often it isn't, right? So, that's where we see lots of peaks and troughs.

00:34:56 Dan Toma

When we work with leaders on strategy and vehicles for innovation, I always say that most organisations don't have a problem innovating. They have a problem making innovation a repeatable process because

99.9% of the organisations that we work with have displayed the ability of launching a moon-shot project.

99.9% seriously. Take any organisation. They've done an amazing innovation project. Probably it was the pet project of the CEO or whoever. But still, successful in the market, driving revenue. My question for them is, “Can you do that again next month, and next year, and in five years?”

You know, everybody is talking about Moon-shot projects. I always ask them, “Do you have a space programme?” Yeah, everybody is capable of a moon-shot. But are you able to build a space programme that is constantly launching new things, constantly scouting for new opportunities, and not just scouting but actually capitalising on those?

00:36:03 Andy Goram

Yeah, absolutely true, I mean, the time on this podcast never ceases to amaze me how quickly it goes, especially when I'm going to sit down and talk about accounting in the title, right? I thought this would be a tough game, but it's been ridiculously quick and we've covered loads so far. In order to try and help my audience kind of cement this in their brains, Dan, before we have to say goodbye, let's use the Sticky Notes area of this podcast where we look to summarise. To use some of your own medicine, because you play the Post-it game with some of your clients, can you summarise the three best bits of advice you could, to help people get to grips with this stuff. If you were to do 3 sticky notes, my friend, what would you have on your sticky notes?

00:36:46 Dan Toma

I think the first one would be “Define what innovation means for your organisation.” Create a very clear definition of innovation. So, define innovation.

Uhm, second, “Connect that definition with what the purpose of the organisation is.” What the ambition of the organisation is. What's the vision, purpose? Connect that definition. So, if you just created it, and it's obviously not connected with the core business, it will never fly. So create the definition and then connect it with the the core business. Feel free to adjust the definition obviously.

And the last Post-it Note is, “Try to understand what are the traits that support that particular definition and the particular ambition of your organisation.” What do you need to have in place for that to happen in your company?

00:37:43 Andy Goram

Amazing! So simple, yet so deep.

00:37:45 Dan Toma

Yet so complicated, so complicated.


00:37:48 Andy Goram

So complicated, Dan. Amazing! I love those three sticky notes. Thank you so much for your time today to talk about this topic. I mean, this could have gone on forever, in talking about what we do and how we do it. You’ve managed to get it down to three sticky notes, which is amazing. Where can people find out more about you and what you do, Dan?


00:38:06 Dan Toma

Well, you can obviously find me on LinkedIn. Dan Toma, just look up my name. I'm going to pop up there and you're going to see that and of course, those two books. Twitter is another channel I'm using. My handle is Danto underline Ma. And come check out the websites of the books, Thecorporatestartupbook.com and Innovationaccountingbook.com. And for the work that I'm doing with Cris, that you also had here on the show, people can go and check weareoutcome.co .


00:38:43 Andy Goram

Brilliant well, I'll put all those links in the show notes. Just time for me to say thank you so much Dan. Great to speak to you and thanks for all your insights. Really appreciate that.

00:38:53 Dan Toma

Thank you very much, Andy, for having me on the show.

00:38:54 Andy Goram

No problem my friend. OK, that was Dan Toma, and if you'd like to find out a bit more about him and what he does then please check out the show notes.

00:39:09 Andy Goram

That concludes today's episode. I hope you've enjoyed it, found it interesting, and heard something, maybe that will help you become a stickier, more successful business from the inside, going forward.

If you have, please like comment and subscribe. It really helps.


I'm Andy Goram and you've been listening to The Sticky From the Inside Podcast.

Until next time, thanks for listening.

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