Culture Matters – How Do You Foster A Mindset Of Innovation?

3. Make it so that saying YES is easier than saying NO

Or, the alternative to this title: make it so that it’s a bad idea, or completely stupid to say no. The goal is to put forward what it would cost NOT to say yes. Take every conceivable risk of not implementing your idea, make them visible, and known to everyone. You can even create a risk chart with your team or department. And when you make your request, with all your ROI information, give them all the risks it would represent not to go ahead with your idea. Risks that are known to all.

At this point, if the risks are higher than the costs, it is very likely that you will have a green light to move forward with your innovation or change. It is always possible for the answer to be no. But if one of the risks raised becomes reality, you can always tell your boss “We told you so”.

Encourage small controlled experiments

Most companies are allergic to chaos and uncertainty. They want to be CERTAIN, before making a decision, that this is the right decision. The problem is that no exhaustive analysis or study provides as much data as trying something out.

So, if you have almost convinced your boss to go with your idea, but that he’s is still hesitant, because it could be risky and we aren’t sure of anything (and also, gun to their head), offer him to do a small controlled experiment.

The two main advantages of these experiments are that they validate your hypotheses, and they test your riskiest assumptions.

SMALL: On a small scale. An experiment can be done on a small group of users, on a small team. In technology, you can create a prototype on a local server with a partial database, for example.

CONTROLLED: An experiment is controlled when it has a time limit, success criterias, and a list of things you want to verify. You can even have a budget (in dollars or allotted time).

When the experiment is over and you have collected enough data, there are 3 possible paths:

  1. Stop everything, we were wrong. It’s a good thing we did not continue, and we did not lose a ton of money on this idea.
  2. Stop everything, and we move to the overall implementation because we were right and our assumptions were validated.
  3. Another controlled experiment is done to collect additional data and or verify other or new assumptions.


A company that can gain and own these 4 mindsets has no excuse not to change, improve and innovate. A team mastering these 4 mindsets naturally has the necessary qualities to be a team of intrapreneurs. It could help you innovate where your competition does not. But hurry up. Your competition definitely is already innovating.

At Moabi, we offer workshops to help teams acquire these reflexes and mindsets, and we offer practical tools to support them. If you’re curious to explore further, get our Survival Toolkit for the Modern Workplace. Feel free to contact me if you want a conference on this topic in your organization!


Olivier Fortier
Olivier Fortier
OLIVIER Fortier is first and foremost a believer in human beings. Owner of the blog Primos Populi -- which is Latin for People First -- his focus is to find innovative ways to bring back (and keep) people at the core of businesses, and ensure they can thrive. A manager, agilist, servant leader, facilitator, and former Scrum Master, all of these interesting titles and roles represent only the means to achieve what he truly believes in: cultivating people's awesomeness. His favorite things to reflect on are leader-leader relationships, psychological safety and the right to fail, career and personal development, humanity in recruitment, and how to lower the center of gravity of decision-making processes. Considering that businesses wouldn't exist without people, can one imagine how powerful it would be if all employees wholeheartedly wanted to be in their organizations, and wanted to do what they do? This is the work world Olivier wants to live in, and the goal he set for himself.

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