Sometimes even breakthrough performance is insufficient. Pushing beyond Horizon 3 into GameChangingSM territory requires an ability to think newly and act differently, but the results can radically alter the way we experience our world.

Raise your hand if you saw Uber coming. Come on…really?

No one would deny that Uber changed the game when it comes to on-demand transportation. And, as with many game changing innovations, in hindsight it seems so simple and logical. We often wonder aloud, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

So why did almost no one—most importantly those in the taxi/car service/transportation industry—see it coming? April 2016, The New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission report shows yellow taxis provided 60,000 fewer trips per day in January 2016 compared to one year earlier, while Uber provided 70,000 more trips per day over the same time horizon.

The answer is not so simple.

We need to look at the forces within companies that blind them to the future.

The Role of Culture

The context inside of which people are operating in an organization is the corporate culture. That context influences everything that happens in an organization. It reinforces the choices managers make to pursue some innovations and ignore others. It either encourages employees to take risks or play it safe and rewards them from for it. It can be a force for creating game changers—pushing organizations to continually look for new horizons of opportunities—or for encouraging organizations to stick to the status quo and to fail to recognize changes happening all around them in the marketplace.

If this assertion is accurate, then organizations committed to producing game changing innovation (or at least not being cannibalized by one) need to pay attention to the culture that is constantly – and mostly unconsciously – being reinforced by their people.

In Part 2 of this series, we will explore where you can locate these cultural forces in your organization, and in future installments we will discuss how they can be transformed and create a culture that allows for game changing innovation.

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