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Your Innovation Manifesto

Jeffrey Baumgartner

Everyone is talking about innovation these days. There is probably not a company on the planet that does not claim that innovation is a critical component of its future.

Yet, companies are slow to act. I recently spoke to the innovation manager in a large, well known multinational. He complained that even he has problems selling innovative ideas to the very management that gave him his position to help the company innovate better.

Then, one day last week while responding to a query from a major scientific institution, it dawned on me: the first step any business ought to make on the road to innovation is to prepare an Innovation Manifesto, have the CEO and top managers sign it off and display it prominently in their organisation.

To make matters easier for you – as I know you are extremely busy these days – I've prepared a draft Innovation Manifesto which you are free to copy, modify, print, sign and display in your firm.

The [Company Name] Innovation Manifesto

In view of the fast changing marketplace, continuous introductions of new technologies and our competitors' relentless growth, our company declares that innovation shall rule our products, operations and actions.


  1. Top management shall embrace, encourage and nurture innovation at all times. Every decision they make will take into consideration how that decision shall affect the innovativeness of the organisation.

  2. Top management themselves shall adopt more creative behaviour – via training if need be – and demonstrate their creativity to employees, clients and shareholders.

  3. We shall establish a reasonable budget for implementing radically innovative ideas. The return on investment of implementation of those ideas shall take into consideration not only income, but also learning value. There will be no consequences for implementations which are not financially successful.

  4. Managers shall ensure that each and every member of their team has time to be creative and understands that being creative – which leads to innovation – is a critical component of her job responsibilities. To this end, sitting and looking out the window, going for a walk or leaving the office for a fresh environment in which to think shall be considered work.

  5. Realising that innovation is our future, we shall all learn to greet new ideas with open arms and consider the innovative potential of those ideas. Rather than reject ideas, as we have done in the past, we shall challenge those who propose ideas to improve their ideas and make them more innovative.

  6. Creative thinking skills shall become a priority in our internal training programmes.

  7. Mistakes shall be considered a part of our training programme.

  8. No employee shall ever be reprimanded for sharing an idea to others in the firm, even if the idea seems preposterous. We understand that one employee being scolded for sharing a silly idea can do irreparable damage to our firm's innovativeness.

  9. Project teams shall be filled with a diversity of people from various divisions in order to ensure breadth of creative thought and innovative solutions in all our projects.

  10. Overworking leads to stress which is detrimental to creativity and innovation. Employees shall be encouraged to take holiday time off, leave work at a reasonable hour and have active, fulfilling private lives.

  11. We shall take great pride in our innovativeness and strive to improve it daily.

Your CEO


A version of this article originally appeared in in the 4 April 2006 issue of Report 103.

© 2006, 2009, 2016

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Jeffrey Baumgartner
Bwiti bvba

Erps-Kwerps (near Leuven & Brussels) Belgium