Three Critical Ingredients for Innovation

By Michael Graber & Jocelyn Atkinson

Our firm, the Southern Growth Studio, helps many companies with innovation. We help with projects labeled as innovation and we also consult on how companies set up the processes, framework, and governance for successful innovation.

Based on our experience, we know that three key things must be in place for innovation to flourish.

If innovation is to become the No. 1 strategy priority and drive growth and wealth creation, these ingredients must be in place.

First, senior management commitment. Innovation must be in the vision, goals and metrics – and conversations must take place about innovations on an on-going basis. Innovation needs to be valued and practiced as a core disciple of the firm. Senior leaders need to model this importance. Senior management commitment is more than two times important than any other factor in determining the success of innovation at a company.

Second, terms over technology. Innovation isn’t about the collaboration software. It’s about people. Multi-disciplinary teams who follow a process with an open spirit of collaboration scores best.

Third, define types of innovation. Incremental innovations are wholly different animals compared to breakthrough, game-changing innovations. Define the objective of each project or mission is care so you can better manage expectations.

With these three ingredients in place, a company can use innovation to fuel organic growth.

Jocelyn Atkinson and Michael Graber run the Southern Growth Studio, a strategic growth firm based in Memphis. Visit to learn more.