Banking & Finance and Human Resources

Survey looks at how culture impacts innovation

July 4, 2014
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A local firm looks to connect the dots between culture and innovation by surveying business leaders in the Midwest region with its annual study.

Plante Moran, a certified public accounting and business advisory firm at 634 Front Ave. NW, announced June 30 it is conducting a fourth annual business survey that will build on findings from 2013 to identify the correlation between culture and innovation.

The business innovation survey asks roughly 1,100 business executives and innovation team leaders throughout the Midwest and across industry specialties to share how innovation drives profit and quality and reduces costs for their organizations. The 2014 survey also asks organizations to share cultural values and business practices and examine how culture affects initiatives driving innovation, according to the press release.

Gordon Krater, managing partner at Plante Moran, said the 2013 survey uncovered intriguing insights about the role of collaboration in innovation.

“On the global stage, we are seeing an increasing need for collaboration, even among traditional rivals, in order to be successful,” Krater said in the press release. “We hope this year’s survey will shed additional light on how businesses and organizations can collaborate effectively with their customers, vendors, colleges and universities, entrepreneurs and others to drive innovation.”

This year’s survey will be available to participants until the middle of July. Participants will receive a customized report with the survey’s findings in September. Plante Moran also plans on publishing the results in a white paper and hosting a webinar to discuss the findings at that time, according to the press release.

Richard Antonini, managing partner at Plante Moran’s Grand Rapids office, said organizational health is critical in business success, and culture plays a big role. Understanding how innovation and culture correlate will enable the firm to assist other organizations and create opportunities for business to be successful.

“I think for healthy organizations there seems to be a direct linkage to a very positive culture, and it seems like there is a lot of linkage with innovation. We thought we would connect those dots to see how that resonates across the group that will do the surveys,” said Antonini. “Hopefully, what we can take away from it, and what businesses can take away from it, is what we believe is the importance of innovation, which will then drive sustainability and ultimately drives success in their performance.”

According to Antonini, some of the questions in this year’s survey focus on how employees view innovation and the organization’s ability to embrace and encourage the concept.

“That will be an interesting takeaway, as well, I think, to get some perspective,” said Antonini. “Innovation at the leadership among these companies: Is that … cascading down to the teams and the groups to feel empowered to continue making suggestions and looking for ways to improve their organizations?”

In 2013, businesses, nonprofit organizations and governmental entities from Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio responded to the Plante Moran survey. According to the press release, some key findings included: A growing number of businesses link innovation to sustainability and growth, and 75 percent of participants believe collaboration drives innovation.

“Last year’s survey, we had 225 or so businesses across the spectrum … that looked at some of the areas and drivers of innovation and how some of those tied to sustainability, to growth, and how it spurred energy within the organization,” said Antonini. “I think this is just a next step in that process.”

According to the press release, for each survey submitted Plante Moran will make a charitable donation of $5 to Camp Invention, which is a summer program designed for children to learn creativity, innovation and problem solving, and be exposed to the spirit of invention.

Plante Moran has 19 regional offices in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio, with three international locations in Mexico, China and India. The public accounting and business advisory firm was founded in 1924 and employs more than 2,000 individuals. It offers business services, such as: audit and accounting, tax, human capital, technology, financial advisory services, operational effectiveness, international business services and business advisory services.

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