Culture of Independence Unleashes Invention

Independence and invention
British factories with no related experience produced the Bailey Bridge, a WWll revolution in military engineering that could be installed in 3 hours and support  tanks

Since you should align your culture, organization and operations around one of four strategies, it’s helpful to flesh out what the four different cultures mean. In the first of four articles, George Bradt digs into a culture of INDEPENDENCE – unleashing individual creativity and invention

A culture of independence is more open, diffused, caring, flexible, informal and casual. Expect people operating in a culture like this to care about learning and enjoyment, to be proactive and driven by their own interpretation of the intended purpose. These people will be hard to control – which is exactly what you want.

Build a culture like this to unleash creativity and invention – the first step in innovation. Innovation is the introduction of something new. You need to be innovative to stay ahead of the curve whether your primary strategy is design, production, delivery or service.

All cultures are blends of many different elements. Some people will work interdependently. Some will have a bias to flexibility over stability and some things must be stable and reliable. But the over-riding, most important dimension is independence because the sparks of invention are inherently individual. Inventing requires freeing individuals.

Not only is each person in a culture of independence going to behave individualistically, but there is no overall formula for the ideal independent culture. Organizations may vary their cultural preferences on scales like work-focused versus more work-life balance or formal versus informal communication or how they learn.


The one thing that probably should not vary is attention to purpose. CEO Tim Cook and all at Apple are clear they are “trying to change the world for the better.” They care about products and people, about inventing products that help people do things they could not have done before, about infusing products with a humanity that others have never done. Their purpose is their ultimate guiding principles.

Apple’s Cook sees himself as their chief enablement officer. His job is to lead the efforts to provide freeing support to Apple’s inventors. As he says over and over again, his job is “to block the noise from the people who are really doing the work” – the designers and inventors.

(This post is taken from an article which first appeared in Forbes.   NEXT:  George examines a culture of Stabillity)

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