Three simple steps to building a culture of innovation

There isn’t a CEO alive that hasn’t been told to “Innovate or die!”

But knowing you need to innovate to survive doesn’t make it any easier.

Kodak and HMV are just two brands that saw disruption coming and had the time, resources and drive to innovate but free-fell out of existence anyway.

When sales or shares start to drop, the first thing most organisations look to do is cut costs rather than spend money on doing something new.

Or, they look to consolidate what’s actually working with every innovation manager’s favourite request;

Can we do more of the same… only completely differently this time?

After all, isn’t that what customers want?

Isn’t it just too big a risk to throw money at innovative new products without knowing if they’ll succeed?

But on the other hand, isn’t it better to take a chance than to see your organisation disappear?

After all, it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, there are a hundred start-ups out there ready to take your place. We know. We’ve met them.

We also know that most organisational failures could have been prevented if they’d approached innovation with the right framework.

This is how we do it:

1. Start by starting

The most powerful thing you can do is just start; take action, rather than plan.

You don’t need create to an innovation strategy or hold fifty meetings about what you’re going to do next.

Nobody can plot their precise path to innovation; by its nature it’s unknown and experimental.

Instead, begin with a real and tangible project.

Our proven Product Leadership Framework teaches a repeatable process for understanding, owning and solving business problems with innovative products.

Following this framework cuts risks, removes company politics out of the equation and starts to build a culture of innovation from the inside out. The innovation plan will follow from there.

You can learn more about the Product Leadership Framework here.

2. Start small

For every product that succeeds, there are thousands that fail.

That’s an enormous risk for most organisations to take. It’s hard to rationalise investing in something that’s untested or might risk future profits.

The solution is to start small.

At Lighthouse we begin every single client project by narrowing it down to a single idea and turning that into a prototype across 24-hours.

This allows us to validate it at low cost in the real world, iterate and build out from there.

3. Foster an innovative culture

Innovation is never-ending. It’s not as if you can build one innovative product and then go back to doing what you’ve always done.

Our aim when we work with product teams is to transfer our product leadership skills and leave that team as an innovation unit within their organisation.

Along with the Product Leadership Framework, this creates an environment where people can contribute new ideas, then test and validate them quickly to pick the best ones to take further.

Essentially helping the company to think and act like a start-up from the inside out.

A word of warning; it’s important not to treat this unit like a normal business function.

Think of it a little like investing in market research. Alone it may not add to your bottom line but it most certainly leads to insights that will.


If the last ten years in business has taught us anything, it’s that innovation isn’t optional if you want to survive; but it doesn’t have to be risky.

Our Product Leadership Framework will help you to mitigate the most common mistakes in developing products and provide a repeatable process from taking an idea from prototype to return on investment, and beyond.