How Intuit Reinforces Its Culture of Innovation

Recognize This! – Encouraging innovation requires creating a culture that recognizes and rewards both the big and the small ideas – and everything in between.

I had the pleasure last week of presenting at HCI Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona, with my colleague from Intuit, Senior Compensation Business Partner Jennifer Lepird. Our presentation was “Spotlighting Recognition: How Intuit Has Reinforced a Culture of Innovation and Elevated Employee Engagement.”

We’ve worked together for many years now, delivering a strategic recognition program that reinforces Intuit’s strong culture of innovation and commitment to employee engagement. In fact, I’ve written about Intuit’s Founder’s Innovation Award of $1,000,000 reward for high-impact innovation.  (Be sure to click through for the very moving video of the first presentation of this award last year – a video we shared during the HCI Summit presentation.)

While the big awards are certainly appreciated, Intuit also fully understands the importance of creating an environment in which “little things” can move mountains. A recent article in Forbes magazine shared Intuit Founder Scott Cook’s vision for encouraging innovation from everyone, everywhere in the organization, all the time.

“And yet, [Scott] Cook notes, if you look at enterprise and consumer technology companies, the game changing innovations almost never come from the big incumbents such as Oracle (ORCL), SAP, and Microsoft. With the exception of Apple (AAPL) in the last decade, all the big innovations have come from start-ups.

“Cook decided to investigate whether there are any large companies that have been able to buck this trend. Cook studied companies such as Hewlett Packard (HPQ), 3M (MMM), Procter & Gamble (PG) — where he worked, and Toyota Motor (TM). He found that the common thread during the periods of their most successful product and process innovations was the systems they put in place to encourage employees to conduct frugal experiments….

“Cook believes that there is nothing more rewarding to employees than to see their idea being used by people.”

“To see their idea being used” – what a wonderful expression of “meaningful work.” This clearly conveys, “What I did matters.”

Is innovation important in your organization or industry? What do you do (or what does your leadership team do) to support innovative thinking and, critically, high-impact results – on both the large and small scale.


Leave a Reply