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I've often thought that ‘community development’ needs organisations with a focus on goals wrapped in a vision for success. Traditionally we tend to strive for this using structural aspects – planning processes, recruitment policies, financial processes, etc.

But there are some things that are so fundamental for many organisations that, without them, real success is rarely attained or not sustained.

A big one is the presence of an innovative culture, where the genetic code of the organisation underpins all thought and actions. On its own it may not lead to success, but without it many organisations fail to be sufficiently adaptable to meet changes and opportunities in the environment.

Today I delivered a couple of workshop sessions at a Fundraising Institute 360 Training Day in Palmerston North, and one was titled “Why your organisation needs an innovative culture to succeed in fundraising.”

A couple of observations were:

  1. Discipline and good systems help make an innovative culture possible, not the reverse. Its counterintuitive I know, but innovation needs parameters, just like a painter might need the edges to a painting.
  2. The challenge of a big hairy problem can be an ideal way to build a mission that needs some serious solutions. Where challenges are faced in this way, it helps build the response mechanisms that every good innovative culture has in spades.

It left me wondering though. Given the challenges of our rapidly changing world, are we developing more innovative cultures, or less? If it’s the latter, survival of the fittest will no doubt provide an answer.

Fraser Carson is grateful to have the opportunity to share knowledge and ideas through this blog. He is the founding director of, The Crowd, and Fraser is a marketer and communications expert, and a developer and commentator on online and community building issues with a particular interest and involvement in the Collective Impact method of working cooperatively.

Is having an innovation culture ultimately a key to an organisations survival?

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