The importance of culture and how it can be a powerful tool to inspire innovation

During a conversation with Charulatha, Correspondent of Siliconindia Magazine, Manoj and Samrat elaborate on how a robust organizational culture can significantly enhance the innovation process within a company.

Role of Culture in Cultivating an Environment that Fosters and Supports Innovative Thinking
Manoj: Leadership plays a crucial role in propelling innovation and fostering a culture of creativity and development. Providing a secure environment for individuals to explore and learn becomes essential, encouraging the pursuit of novel ideas without the fear of failure. Recognizing and appreciating innovative efforts, not solely the end results, enriches this culture further. Active engagement in external ventures showcases a commitment to innovation beyond the organization's boundaries. Within the organization, various initiatives inspire and celebrate inventive thinking. This culture serves as the foundation, driving progress and excellence in respective fields.

Samrat: Culture forms the bedrock of any successful business strategy. From customers and talent to technology and innovation, all pillars rely on a strong cultural foundation. Core values like meaningful innovation, diversity, and global collaboration shape the essence of our organization, fostering a sense of inclusion and belonging. In this environment, employees feel supported, allowing them to embrace risks and drive an innovative culture.

Positively impact the innovation process within a company.
Manoj: Our inclusive organizational culture encompasses two vital elements: meaningful innovation and diversity. At Boston Scientific, our focus is on creating an inclusive environment where individuals feel empowered to express their thoughts and ideas. The liberty to challenge norms and continuously improve our processes and practices lies at the core, driving efficiency and exceptional customer service. Collaboration is embraced, recognizing and appreciating collective efforts towards innovation. Moreover, failure is viewed as an opportunity for learning, creating a safe space for employees to explore new possibilities. This culture enables us to consistently advance science and deliver transformative solutions.

Strategies for Sustained Growth and Continuous Improvement in Organizations
Manoj: The culture within an organization is shaped by its people. How talent is onboarded, how they are inducted about the organization’s values, teamwork and collaboration, and the emphasis on both individual excellence and collective efforts are all crucial factors. Talent holds a significant place in Boston Scientific's India strategy, underscoring its importance. From a business perspective, talent is as vital as folio, markets, and customers. Boston Scientific lives its core values, such as caring, providing a safe environment, promoting diversity, and encouraging global collaboration. These strategic elements are instrumental in fostering a culture of innovation and value creation.

Core values like meaningful innovation, diversity, and global collaborations shape the essence of our organization, fostering a sense of inclusion and belonging

Samrat: Culture in an organization comprises three key elements: core values, people, and their consistent demonstration of those values. Leadership plays a central role in shaping this culture by endorsing and exemplifying the right behaviors. Aligning the organization's mission and purpose, communicating it effectively, and encouraging individual alignment are vital. Transparent communication and a culture of open feedback gives way to innovation, enabling employees to challenge the status quo and drive positive change. Leadership's commitment to coaching and providing feedback ensures that the organization moves in the desired direction, fostering a culture of innovation at its core.

Key Metrics to Evaluate the Effectiveness of a Company's Innovation Culture
Manoj: As a prominent player in the medical devices industry, Boston Scientific takes pride in its meaningful innovations that improve patient outcomes. With substantial global investments in research and development, the company places a strong emphasis on building a culture of innovation. In India, it holds the distinction of having the second-largest R&D presence beyond the USA, reflecting its commitment to expansion. The company's "VIP culture (i.e. Value Improvement Programmes)" promotes efficiency and encourages inventive business practices. Notably, objective assessments, including HR surveys and employee engagement initiatives, drive listening, and gauge the extent to which the culture promotes innovative thinking. Moreover, the company's focus on coaching and learning is measured through various metrics, ensuring continuous growth and development. These quantifiable indicators enable the leadership team to assess the company's cultural prowess and chart its course forward.

Samrat Sarkar, Director, Human Resources at Boston Scientific
Culturally Strong Organizations Harness Diverse Perspectives in the Innovation Process through Business Extensions
Manoj: Fostering an innovative organization involves two crucial aspects: culture and leadership. At Boston Scientific, diversity is a core value and inclusion are celebrated, ensuring that every voice is heard, and ideas are embraced regardless of hierarchy. The leadership team sets an example by working as a united front, emphasizing collaboration and appreciating innovative contributions. Treating failures with a learning mindset further encourages experimentation without fear of reprisal. Instead of blaming individuals, the focus remains on understanding and learning from mistakes. This approach sends a strong message throughout the organization, promoting a culture of openness, inclusivity, and a relentless pursuit of innovation.

"Fostering an innovative organization involves two crucial aspects: culture and leadership"

Samrat: Employee feedback through formal and informal channels is valued at Boston Scientific, Leaders regularly engage with employees to understand their perspectives. Mechanisms such as employee engagement surveys, Pulse Surveys, and Spark Surveys enable us to gather feedback, encouraging open discussions about leadership styles and culture within teams. Employee Representative Groups (ERGs), such as the Young Professionals Network, EmpowerHer, STEM Employee Representative Groups (ERGs), such as the Young Professionals Network, EmpowHer, STEM, Pride, etc. empower individuals to collaborate, innovate, and drive change, Talent programs like WE Lead and Rising Leaders cultivate the next generation of leaders, nurturing change agents who will lead the organization into the future. The combination of initiatives like these and others, promotes a culture of innovation, inclusion, and participation and enables our employees to be at their best.

Manoj: An inclusive culture attracts the right talent, enables collaboration & creativity, and inspires employees to excel. As a leader, preserving the company's culture is a top priority, ensuring the best opportunities to our employees to develop themselves, to innovate and thrive.

Samrat: Culture provides the foundation for organizations to grow. Leaders demonstrate the core values of the organization and set high standards in driving inclusion, collaboration, and innovation, and bring out the best in people. That’s what has made Boston Scientific a Great Place to Work five years in a row, amongst the Best Workplaces in Healthcare, and amongst the Best Places to Work for Women.