UK: How Do You Create A Culture Of Innovation In Your Business?

Last Updated: 16 November 2016
Article by Vimi Grewal-Carr and Katy Bentley

Success is good. Failure is a bad. Synonyms for failure include breakdown, downfall and non-performance. Oddly the word lemon also features and I am reminded of the proverb "when life gives you lemons make lemonade". Can this also be applied to failure? To experiment and fail but take the lessons you have learnt to create a recipe for something greater than the sum of its parts, making failure a crucial part of success.

A common question we get asked when we are talking to our clients about innovation within a company is how we create a culture of innovation in our business, one that accepts experimentation, failure and all, and this is one that we ourselves come back to as a must have for any business that works with disruption on a daily basis.

Our clients are increasingly interested not only in how they identify and harness disruptive trends to benefit their own customers but also how they instil a beneficial culture of innovation and experimentation in their business. The premise is simple and is borne out by the data. Innovation has the potential to boost labour productivity by 40%. Whilst there are obvious other factors that need to be considered – such as the country – South Korea tops both the productivity and innovation charts – it is also clear that innovation has a part to play in a company's success

As such companies are looking internally to see what they can do to take advantage of the opportunities that innovation and an innovative culture can bring.

Practically, each company must look at how they reward and nurture innovation in a manner that works for their strategic business goals. This will be influenced by the industry the company operates in and where a company has decided that they need to focus. What is pervasive across industries is the need for an innovation mindset. Embedded in this is an acceptance of failure. You need to get the right recipe to accept failure and it isn't easy.

We have worked with many clients on projects across digital transformation, innovation and change and, importantly, we have brought innovation into the heart of our own 2020 strategy.

3 lessons we have learnt about failure as part of an innovation mindset

  1. Don't accept it in isolation. At Deloitte we recognise failure not in isolation but rather as a crucial part of "doing it right". We don't set out to fail, we set out to allow innovations to develop as part of a structured programme of business case development, proof of concept, build, scale and finally exit. Failure at any of these stages are simply a result of an honest assessment of that particular stage with the conclusion that it is not right for the business. This is the right thing to do. It prevents companies from spending increasing investment in an idea that is either not viable nor right for the market.
  2. Recognise it for what it tells you. We invested in incubating a business that used advanced technology to re-evaluate a traditional business model. The business case was sound and the proof of concept (POC) commenced. The business case was exciting and in our belief that the positive impact that this could have in a specific market we continued to invest. At that point, we didn't listen to what failure meant and in doing so, allowed the timelines and success factors to slip. Had we been more open to listening to what the failure was telling us we may have halted the project earlier, when clients delayed signing up and when the POC wasn't showing tangible results. In fact, stopping a project isn't failure – t is simply listening to our client's feedback and recognising empirical results – something that, ironically, is a core part of our DNA in delivering successful projects for clients across all of our products and services.
  3. Remember lessons learnt. Recently launched to the SME market, Propel focuses on delivering an insightful and dynamic accounting service to start-ups and SMEs. Innovation funded the business in its incubation phase, allowing it to test the market both with clients and with the business internally. Learning lessons from previous projects, the team ensured that they thoroughly tested the market with live clients and had milestones clearly set out in relation to going to market with the solution. At any stage we could have halted the project but through checking the business case and proof of concepts as we moved through to build, we were able to identify what really resonated with the market and tailor the solution accordingly.


Coming back to our core principles has been at the heart of how we have started to embed doing the right thing in our innovation approach. Recognising that, as with our core business strategy, clients must be front and centre of any decision, we introduced a clear process for early stage innovation. We kept close to our market and made the fundamental elements of a POC ratifying direct with clients in the market, as well as building a basic prototype to prove an element of the business case in practice. We also made sure that we had the right internal business sponsorship to ensure that we gathered feedback from the related market as we went through. We created a 'Lessons Learnt Bible' that reminded us of past failures, not for failures sake but for what the failure had told us - and the part that this would play in future successes.

We are hugely proud of the work that our people do to develop new businesses and products for the market. And through doing the right thing, allowing failure and supporting success, we are making a real impact in the overall success rate of our business ventures and ultimately bringing value to our clients through new solutions to solve their business problems. Beyond that, by practicing what we preach, we are able to share with clients' practical guidance and perspective, failure and all, to what it takes to innovate in a company and meet disruption and disruptive trends head on. We take lemons and make lemonade.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions