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Corporate Culture is Secret Sauce of Innovation Leadership

Corporate culture is secret sauce of innovation leadership . / Credit: Innovation culture image via Shutterstock

It’s no accident that the San Francisco Bay Area is a global leader in innovation, a new report says. Innovation is ingrained in the DNA of many Bay Area companies, a “secret sauce” that combines an unusually high level of alignment and integration among their corporate, innovation and business strategies and goals.

That secret sauce blends in a strong focus on connecting early and continuously with customers about all their needs, according to a report released by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute and Book & Company, a management consulting firm. The report draws on the Booz & Co. 2011 Global Innovation 1000 survey.

It also engages chief technology officers in business strategy. This organizational culture combines with the region's venture capital firms, its world-class universities and research institutes and an entrepreneurial work force that is highly educated and embraces risk to drive innovation.

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Almost 54 percent of Bay Area companies reported a high degree of alignment between their innovation strategy and business strategy, the survey showed. This is much higher than only 14.3 percent of companies globally. And nearly half (46 percent) of Bay Area companies indicated that their corporate culture strongly supports their innovation strategy, more than double the 19.2 percent of companies globally with similar cultures.

Bay Area companies are much more likely to have their technology leaders report directly to the CEO than in other companies. Nine out of ten Bay Area companies say they have a clear innovation strategy that is more strongly embraced by executive management than in other companies (compared to one in five companies globally saying they have no innovation strategy).

"Companies and regions around the world have long sought to emulate the Bay Area’s tremendous innovation success, but with only mixed results," said Matthew Le Merle, a Booz & Co. partner. "What we’ve found is that the Bay Area’s innovation success stems not just from its access to venture capital, top universities and well-educated workers, but from a unique and tightly woven set of corporate cultural attributes."

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and held a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.