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"... innovation requires no fixed rules or templates -- only guiding principles. Creating a more innovative culture is an organic and creative act." (From this list.)

You cannot reboot a culture without massive casualties and cost. We are creatures of habit. The people in any given organisation has adapted to life within that culture.

To transform an existing organisation into an innovative one could require too significant a cultural change. Especially as the attitude for innovation demands changes in how a person think and see the world.

Change cannot be forced upon people if we expect it to stick. Have you ever tried to force someone to stop smoking? In Tom Peters book Reimagine, he highlighted how despite years of big mergers and acquisitions, the outcomes have not really met the promises and expectations. The cultural change obstacle is enormous when two competitors become one. No surprise at the post merger attrition rate then I guess.

There is a real fear of the unknown and of change. What will the new way be like? What if I cannot fit in with the new way? What if I am no longer needed?

Another tough issue is one of alignment – convincing enough people that a change is needed is the proverbial herding of cats. It is hard enough organising a small group of people to go to lunch!

There are also greater culture considerations beyond the corporate to consider. In places like Singapore, some of the barriers to innovation tie right back into cultural norms. Don’t rock the boat. Don’t disagree with authority. Don’t speak your mind unless you know that is what everyone else thinks. Don’t make fun of things. Don’t take risks. These are all massive systemic barriers to overcome.

Underlying cultural change is a fear of being different. What if they laugh at me? What if I am wrong?