Innovation Missionaries

Over the past quarter century organizations have found it necessary to openly declare their vision, mission and values. They articulate these in ways that are more or less participative. The statements can be deeply meaningful to the people who serve in those companies or they can be simple frames adorning walls.

What is interesting to note that, in the past ten years, innovation and creativity have taken prime place in these statements. Here are some examples, some more formal than others:

Novartis: We want to discover, develop and successfully market innovative products to prevent and cure diseases, to ease suffering and to enhance the quality of life.

Hewlett-Packard : We are the technology company that invents the useful and the significant. We lead in the marketplace by developing and delivering useful and innovative products, services and solutions.

Nike : Innovation is at the heart of NIKE, Inc.’s business growth strategy.

General Electric : Imagination = Innovation. By putting our collective imagination to work for a better future, we might get there yet. Is it possible to change the world? At GE, we are doing it one idea at a time.

Disney : … we seek to develop the most creative, innovative and profitable entertainment experiences and related products in the world.

Ben & Jerry’s : To operate the company in a way that actively recognizes the central role that business plays in society by initiating innovative ways to improve the quality of life locally, nationally & internationally.

Research in Motion : RIM is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative wireless solutions for the worldwide mobile communications market.

Lenovo Group: We are now one company with one goal: To build the best, most innovative products in the world. To use world-class economics to put new and better technology in the hands of more people, by innovating on cost the same way we innovate on technology.

Honda : “Do Not Imitate.” (mandate of Soichiro Honda) echoes in the minds and hearts of everyone at Honda. We are constantly challenging ourselves to seek out new initiatives and stay at the forefront of innovation.

Haier: Our mission is to combine quality, innovation, and style for the comfort and convenience of your home.

Procter & Gamble : Innovation is the cornerstone of our success. We place great value on big, new consumer innovations. We challenge convention and reinvent the way we do business to better win in the marketplace.

Pfizer : … we affirm our values of Integrity, Respect for People, Customer Focus, Community, Innovation, Teamwork, Performance, Leadership, and Quality.

General Mills : We reinforce our values every day through our people, our brands, our innovation and our performance.

Heinz: .. . to innovate in everything, from products to processes.

Time Warner: We thrive on innovation and originality encouraging risk-taking and divergent voices.

Bayer : … we aim to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power.

Why are companies now declaring that creativity and innovation are so important for them? Beyond the fact that it’s trendy, here are four reasons:

Innovation is really crucial for their success and survival.

It is important for their image.

Clients want them to be innovative.

It helps employees (and unions) understand that change is always on the agenda.

What companies say and what they do are not necessarily the same thing. But they cannot all be faking it. We are active witnesses of an unprecedented pace of innovation and woe behold the laggards!

Dimis Michaelides, business speaker, consultant, magician and expert in leading innovation and creativity, has authored The Art of Innovation – How to Integrate Creativity in Organizations. See