Innovation Depends on Who Is At the Table

Blog by Julie Urlaub, Founder and Managing Partner at Taiga Company
Dec 7, 2010 2:25 PM ET

Taiga Company blog by Julie Urlaub, Founder and Managing Partner at Taiga Compa…

How diverse is your organization?  Actually, how welcomed is diverse expression in your organization?   The ability of your organization to innovate may depend on the answer.

“One of the basics of a good system of innovation is diversity. In some ways, the stronger the culture (national, institutional, generational, or other), the less likely it is to harbor innovative thinking. Common and deep-seated beliefs, widespread norms, and behavior and performance standards are enemies of new ideas. Any society that prides itself on being harmonious and homogeneous is very unlikely to catalyze idiosyncratic thinking. Suppression of innovation need not be overt. It can be simply a matter of people's walking around in tacit agreement and full comfort with the status quo.” -- Nicholas Negroponte   One approach to innovation is to look to the leading edge to see what others are doing.  A second approach is to capture ideas as they spring up as seeds of innovation from within the organization.  But there has to be a catalyst, a framework, a discussion or something to generate those ideas.  What is that?    As a professional consultant in the role of building business sustainability, the answer is stakeholder engagement.    Innovative ideas do not have to come from one single source.  They can generate from within the company at the ground level, from the customers, or your suppliers.  Often employees have the information and ideas to make a significant but are limited by the structures of the organization.  One key to innovation is to create a corporate culture that encourages and rewards diverse ideas at all levels internal to the organization as well as external to the company.  

In pursuing sustainability, by definition, we are aware of the dynamic relationship with the people and environment in which we live out their daily lives.  Click here to continue reading.


Home to one third of the earth's trees, the Taiga is the largest land-based biosphere and encircles the globe. Its immense oxygen production literally changes the atmosphere and refreshes the planet. It is this continuous renewal that has shaped Taiga Company's vision to drive similar change in the business world. Taiga Company seeks to be the "oxygen for your business".