Growing an Innovation Culture: Nurturing Ideas, Inspiring Minds and Creating Futures

  • James Skinner
  • Aaron C. T. Smith
  • Steve Swanson


This chapter argues that sustained innovation is a high-productivity growth state underpinned by a supporting culture that reaches across all aspects of a sport enterprise. This requires a seamless, structured approach that begins with a new paradigm of thinking about management, focuses on the process of cultural renewal, mobilises emboldened but devolved leadership, creates safe boundaries within which ‘unsafe’ ideas can be expressed, and coalesces around the pursuit of culturally driven benchmarks in addition to innovation outcome measures. The chapter discusses the critical necessity of forging the cultural foundations for supporting innovation, and offers some recommendations to address the implementation impasse for sport enterprises just starting the journey. It proposes that every organisational member must be empowered to innovate with the supporting structures to operationalise power. The chapter concludes that as the culture of innovation becomes more embedded, there will be both a move to more quality ideas and a greater devolution of the innovation pipeline into various business units and service arms of the organisation. Along the way, leaders create the boundaries and rules to ensure that innovation efforts can proceed with an optimal combination of creative freedom and practical control.


Productivity Growth Boundaries Creativity Control 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Skinner
    • 1
  • Aaron C. T. Smith
    • 1
  • Steve Swanson
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Sport BusinessLoughborough University LondonLondonUK

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