participants in the Stanford LEAD Program

Designing Organizations for a Culture of Innovation

Many of us have heard the phrase, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”  Attributed to management educator, Peter Drucker, the phrase simply means that even the best strategy will not guarantee results; we must also have a strong and healthy organizational culture to achieve our strategic goals.

Increasingly, leaders realize that their strategies require them to be innovative and agile, yet their cultures are not set up to foster innovation and agility. While building a strong and innovative organizational culture may seem easy enough, it is not. This is because most leaders do not fully understand what culture is and they do not understand how the levers of organizational design can work together to create strong organizational cultures (or conversely to work against each other to undermine the strong cultures that leaders need to fully execute on their strategic goals). Moreover, many leaders believe that the work of building or changing organizational culture lives in the C-suite; thus they feel powerless to change organizational or team cultures that can drive innovation.

Course Introduction


This course is essential for leaders at all levels of organizations. It is designed to help leaders understand that we all can work on building and changing the cultures of our teams and our organizations if we embrace a mindset of innovation and work on our creative confidence. The course starts by introducing a framework for understanding the basic building blocks of organizations and how these building blocks can work together to create strong cultures of innovation. It also introduces tools to diagnose the roots of the common organizational problems that undermine innovation (e.g., high turnover, low trust, costly mistakes and errors, silos, employee disengagement, toxic work environments, misaligned incentives, and so on). Finally, the course provides a hands-on way for you to improve your team or organizational culture, so that you can foster innovation and better achieve your strategic goals.

Key Topics

  • Understanding organizational dynamics and connecting these to organizational strategy
  • Driving strong cultural change through effective diagnosis of problems and creative solution generation
  • Using creative confidence to inspire leaders at all levels to build stronger organizational cultures, which are increasingly necessary to achieve strategic goals

Course Faculty

The Morgridge Professor of Organizational Behavior
Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs


Marineh Lalikian
Director, Stanford LEAD Online Business Program Executive Education