“The heart and soul of the company is creativity and innovation.”
Bob Iger

“Empathy is about standing in someone else’s shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place.”
Daniel H. Pink

“The role of a creative leader is not to have all the ideas; it’s to create a culture where everyone can have ideas and feel that they’re valued.”
Ken Robinson

I wanted to share some quotes on what seem to be the buzzwords of the moment. This week I have been exposed to a number of articles and live presentations on culture and innovation and how embracing one encourages the other and leads to successful businesses.


All very interesting and delivered by some high-flying companies from IBM, Google, IDEO and AirBnB to name a few, it has been a very refreshing and satisfying box ticking exercise for me. Did I learn anything new? No not really. You see my chief experience comes from working with the inspirational and forward thinking women behind Liz Earle Beauty, where not only did we have a ‘precious recipe’ drawn up by the original team that outlined all the ingredients that would make up the business culture but the customer was king and central to everything we did. Empathy, collaboration, creativity and personalisation underpinned our work ethos; we were a community not only as a business but we actively encouraged our customers to join us and become part of that community as ambassadors. We asked for, listened to and acted on their feedback in all things from product development to store locations and pricing. Design and innovation encompassed all we did from branding, communications, environment and product it was a pivotal part of our culture. And this was all 20 years ago when other businesses were all about hard sales and advertising.

And just like these great companies have now discovered this is a proven approach that leads to brand loyalty, brand interaction, trust and customer recommendation which even more now than before in this age of immediate and global communications is gold dust and integral to success.

One key thing to remember is that regarding culture, creativity, empathy and innovation it is about quality over quantity – 100 people loving your brand is worth more than a 1000 liking it. And the commercial value it can add to your business is a consideration to be taken seriously.

For me the great thing is that I not only understand the premise and concept behind this approach but I have lived and breathed it for nearly 20 years and been part of what would now be described as a ‘disruptive brand’.

I will end with Jonathan Mildenhall CMO of AirBnB mantra for maintaining culture as described in his interview on Google Atmosphere.

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