InnovaBuzz Episode #50 Innovation Culture


Innovation Culture:
Creating an Organisational Culture that values Innovation

In this milestone episode #50, Jürgen discusses the dramatic changes that will impact our lives and our businesses in the coming 5 years and how we can not only adapt to these changes so our business survives, but to lead the changes and be the innovators.  It’s about building an innovation culture in your organisation.  Listen to the podcast to learn more.

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The best way to adapt to change is to lead it and be the Innovator - @Innovabiz Share on X

Show Highlights

Some of the highlights of this episode include:

  • Many traditional and well established businesses have disappeared because they didn’t recognize and adapt to disruptive change.
  • The best way to adapt to change, is to lead it and be the innovator.
  • We must position our businesses to not just survive the disruptive change, but be at the forefront of such change.
  • Innovation is a change that adds value – it is both new and useful.  It also requires turning ideas into action.
  • Building an innovation culture in an organisation, requires first that you really understand who it is that you serve and why.
  • What business are you really in?  What experience do you provide your customers?
An innovation is anything that is both new and useful. It is a change that adds value - @innovabiz Share on X


Full Transcript

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Hi, I’m Jürgen Strauss from Innovabiz. Welcome to Episode No 50 of the InnovaBuzz Podcast – designed to help smart businesses with an interest in innovation become even more innovative.

Yes, we’ve reached a milestone!  When I first started this podcast journey, little did I imagine, that I’d be speaking with awesome entrepreneurs all around the world, many of whom I had never met and all of whom are achieving amazing results in their businesses.  I feel so privileged to be able to share time with these people on this podcast and to learn so much from their experience.  Each episode is like a masterclass for me, and I hope that it also provides exceptional value to our audience.

As we move to Episode 50 and beyond, I’m going to change the pattern of the podcast a little.  We’ll continue to have these wonderful guests providing fantastic and inspirational information for our audience AND in addition, I’m going to intersperse those episodes with ones in which I’ll present solo, on topics of interest to our audience and address questions that we receive.  Today’s episode will be only the second to date, that I’ve presented solo and I’ll discuss the topic of an innovation culture.  Moving forward, I’d love to get feedback and take more questions from you, my audience, so if you’d like me to discuss a particular topic on a future podcast, please send them to us at or via our website.

So now, let’s fly into the Hive and get the Buzz on Innovation Culture.


The trouble with the future, is that it usually arrives before we are ready for it!

Kodak invented the Brownie camera in the early 1900s.  That’s the device pictured on the image at the top of the blog post.  It was a completely new way of how people thought about their lives and how they could record it. For a couple of dollars they could buy this technological wonder and easily take snapshots of events in their life. Of course it’s now a museum piece, although there is a thriving community of Brownie photographers that still actively use these cameras!

Those of you who know me, know that I’ve been a passionate photographer ever since I was a very young child.

At the age of 25, I landed a plum research job with Agfa, one of the leading photographic companies of the time. As a keen photographer, this was literally the dream job.  At about that same time commercial digital photography was born. Agfa and other film manufacturers at the time were slow to recognise the disruptive nature of this innovation.  Agfa Photo no longer exists today.

In 1998, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide. Within just a few years, their business model disappeared and they went bankrupt.  It’s ironical that the first digital camera was in fact developed by a Kodak engineer in 1975. But Innovation is not simply about having a good idea, it’s about putting those good ideas into practice. Agfa and Kodak ignored this disruptive innovation at their peril.

What happened to Agfa and Kodak will happen in a lot of industries in the next 10 years – and most people won’t see it coming.

Peter Drucker, the famous management consultant said “The business that does not innovate, ages and declines. And in a period of rapid change such as the present, that decline will be fast.”

In recent times we’ve seen the demise of Borders, Blackberry, Blockbuster Videos, MySpace, Nokia, Polaroid just to name a few.

It is said that two things in life are certain, death and taxes. I’d like to add a third to that and it is change.  Everything is in a constant state of change, including the status quo.  And here’s another thing about change – the pace of it will only quicken.  The best way to adapt to change, is to lead it and be the innovator.

Software and the Internet of things will disrupt most traditional Industries in the next 5 to 10 years.

Already today the world’s biggest taxi company owns no cars; the world’s biggest hotel company owns no properties; the world’s biggest video company produces no videos, the world’s biggest content publisher produces no content, the world’s most valuable photo company sells no cameras and the world’s most valuable retailer has no inventory.

All these companies have completely transformed the business models in their respective industries.

If you’re preparing for your next Trivial Pursuit Evening, the answers are: Uber, AirBnB, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Alibaba.

It is highly likely that this same exponential rate of change will happen with artificial intelligence, agriculture, health, autonomous and electric cars, education, 3D printing and jobs.

Computers have become exponentially better in understanding our world. I remember watching Stanley Kubrik’s 2001 with HAL the computer and thinking that was a fanciful scenario!  Now, this year a computer beat the best GO player in the world, 10 years earlier than expected.

Advances in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics will increase efficiency, improve quality AND also remove a lot of traditional jobs.

Driverless cars are being road tested in cities around the world by many companies and it is expected that they’ll be available to the public in just a few years.

3D printing is making rapid advances – at the end of this year new smartphones will have 3D scanning capabilities. You can then 3D scan your feet and print your perfect shoes at home. (yes, really!)

So, there are dramatic changes on the 5-10 year horizon, that will dramatically impact our lives and how we do business.

How can we position our businesses, not just to survive this disruptive change, but to be at the forefront of the change?

That’s part of why I’m doing these podcasts, to keep finding ideas that will help us address that question.

Let’s take a step back and define  what exactly do I mean by innovation an innovation is anything that is both new and useful. It is a change that adds value.  

It can be a product or service.

It can be a process or way of organising.

It can be incremental or it can be breakthrough.

It’s putting a new approach or idea into action:
“An idea is only an idea until you convert it into something meaningful. That’s when innovation starts.”

Innovation is putting ideas into action.

Establishing and nurturing a business environment that values innovation is the foundation to become an innovative business.  This needs to be in place before anything else. This business environment begins with the vision and purpose for the business and most importantly, an organisational culture of innovation.

Some of the features of an innovation culture, as shared by my InnovaBuzz podcast guests are:

  • Being very clear about your business mission – about who you serve and why; being passionate about providing the solutions to your audience’s problems and needs.
  • Surround yourself with good people;  employees, suppliers, business partners and clients.
  • have a great support network; because innovation is not about a solo genius, it’s about collective genius.
  • Build and sustain strong values of learning, education, a positive mindset and an attitude of collaboration and service.
  • Willingness to embrace risk and learn from mistakes.
  • Continuous innovation and improvement, rather than perfection (taking action).
  • Allowing creative space in the sense of both time and a physical sense. And
  • Planning for and celebrating success.

Probably the first one, in that list, to really get right, is to understand who we serve and why. If we don’t understand that, our customer won’t either and they won’t care as a result.

Agfa and Kodak believed they were in the business of providing film to make photographs, of providing the chemicals that build the film and photographic paper.  And yet, what the customer wanted, was to freeze in time an instant of their life and save that experience to relive whenever they chose to.  Once a better way of achieving what the customer wanted was available (as in digital photography and now digital cameras in our pocket phones), customers were no longer interested in film, paper or chemicals.

Ask yourself – what business are you really in – providing film and paper, or providing an experience to the customer!  And if so, what is that experience?

Wrap Up:

I did finish that episode with a question and maybe left it a bit in the air!  I’d love to get your comments in the blog post, with your take and what experience you provide your customers…..

All the show notes for this episode will be at, that is 5-0-I-N-N-O-V-A-T-I-O-N, all lowercase, all one word,, for all of the links and everything we spoke about in this episode.

Thank you for listening.  Pop over to iTunes or Stitcher or Pocket Casts and subscribe so you’ll never miss a future episode.  While you’re there, you might leave us a review, because reviews help us get found and your feedback helps us improve.  If there is anything you’d like us to cover, or questions you want answered on a future podcast, please send them to us.

Until next time, I’m Jürgen Strauss from Innovabiz.

Remember, if you don’t innovate, you stagnate, so think big, be adventurous and keep innovating!

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Jürgen Strauss

Dr. Jürgen Strauss is The World's Best Human-Centred Podcasting Coach and the only Podcast Innovator with the signature bright yellow headphones, who masterfully crafts human connection for high-impact achievers in a vibrant community. You can find Jürgen on LinkedIn, The InnovaBuzz Podcast, The Flywheel Nation Community as well as on Innovabiz' InstagramTwitter, Facebook pages and his personal Photography website.  

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