Eat, Sleep, Innovate – Creating a Culture of Innovation

Culture of Innovation

Innovation is a critical part of any business, but to really make an impact, innovation must become a habit, and it must be fully integrated into your corporate culture. For many, developing a “culture of innovation” can be a challenge – but a good first step towards making that a reality in your company is listening to today’s episode! Today's guest is Natalie Painchaud, author of Eat, Sleep, Innovate: How to Make Creativity an Everyday Habit Inside Your Organization, and here, she'll explain:

  • The Five Core Behaviors of innovative organizations;
  • What can get in the way of corporate innovation; 
  • The benefits of "BEANs"; and
  • How a Culture Sprint can help you develop a culture of innovation! 
Culture of Innovation

Natalie Painchaud


“The hidden powerful forces that prioritize today over tomorrow guarantee the bottom line -- and at the same time, they stand in the way of making tomorrow different."

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Eat, Sleep, Innovate


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The Five Core Behaviors

  • Innovation is spurred when organizations demonstrate Five Core Behaviors - which are to be:
    • Curious
      • Questioning the status quo and looking for new ways to do things are key.
      • Innovators must also be open to adopting different approaches to issues.
    • Customer-Obsessed
      • Innovators must be able to understand what your customer, colleague, or any other stakeholder wants to get done.
      • “Look at the world through their eyes.”
    • Collaborative
      • Bringing together different perspectives, ideas and personalities is key. 
    • Adept in Ambiguity
      • Every innovation is partially right, and partially wrong.
      • Trial and error is essential to finding and utilizing the right innovations.
    • Empowered
      • If you are going to do something different that creates value, you must be able to go from an idea on paper to an idea in reality. 
      • Innovation takes action.
        • These behaviors are seen as behaviors that can be adopted by anyone at any level within an organization.
        • All five of these behaviors are naturally occurring from birth, but it is not always easy to harness them. 

A Culture of Innovation

  • Innovation is defined as “something different that creates value.”
  • A “culture of innovation” occurs when these behaviors happen naturally.
  • Most organizations have routines, rituals, and habits that perpetuate today - not to do something different that creates value. 
  • If organizations don’t change, inevitably they will be disrupted.
    • Disruption is not something that is in the distant future - it is happening every day in every industry.
    • Changes in customer habits, declines in customer loyalty, 
    • Innosight’s research indicated that half of the S&P 500 companies will fall off of the list within the next decade
  • Leaders are responsible for creating a culture where innovators can thrive.
  • There is so much untapped innovation potential inside of every person and every organization.

What Gets In The Way

  • Shadow Strategies
    • "The hidden powerful forces that prioritize today over tomorrow guarantee the bottom line -- and at the same time, they stand in the way of making tomorrow different."
    • Individuals can have “unwritten rules” that don’t allow them to break the normal routine that works. 
  • Behavior Blockers
    • Behavior blockers come into play when the behaviors that prevent you from accepting change and innovations are apparent.
    • An example would be wanting to be more collaborative. In order to be more collaborative, people must speak up during meetings.
      • The behavior blocker is people choosing to stew in their own thoughts and not speak up with new ideas.
      • People may think that the risk is higher than the reward.
    • An intervention must then be put into place to mitigate the effect of behavior blockers. 

The Benefits of BEANs

  • “BEAN” stands for:
    • Behavior Enabler
      • A behavior enabler is some type of direct way to change behavior.
      • This can be a process, a checklist, a coach, or any other method that can assist in the change of behavior. 
    • Artifacts & Nudges
      • Both Artifacts and Nudges are indirect way to change behavior
      • These can be things that you may not even know are occurring such as a visual cue in the room or a custom Zoom background
  • Examples:
    • Writing a “future” press release
      • This is tactic that Amazon uses
      • This is a method that can be very motivating by visualizing what you are working toward with your customers.
    • “Lunch Roulette”
      • This is a system in which colleagues pair up with people with whom they would not normally eat lunch with in order to cultivate serendipitous interactions.
      • This is a great way to encourage collaboration.
  • Within the Appendix of the book, there are additional resources that are actionable such as a diagnostic test and the “Bag of 101 BEANs.”
    • These resources came from many different companies and real life examples of ways to get innovative with your team.

Culture Sprints Can Help!

  • A “culture sprint” is described in detail in Chapter 4 of the Eat, Sleep, Innovate: How to Make Creativity an Everyday Habit Inside Your Organization.
  • The sprint is a three-phase, 6-8 week effort that provides innovation opportunities for teams working to achieve a specific goal.
    • Phase 1 (Pre-BEANstorm Analysis): An analysis to determine what behaviors are needed. This can include interviewing, surveying, and observing your team, giving them the opportunity to express whether or not they fully understand the goal at hand and how to get there.
    • Phase 2 (BEANstorm Workshop): A multi-day workshop that immerses people into changing their behavior and ways of thinking to begin moving toward their goal. 
      • Many people don’t think their way into new ways of acting, they act their way into new ways of thinking. 
    • Phase 3 (Activation): This is the step in which you launch your newly developed BEANs and run experiments within the organization to see what works and what doesn't. 

Reinforcing the Sprint

  • The sustained support of leadership and the executive team is essential to ensuring the innovation process is continued and successful. 
  • A commitment to make the program successful and inclusive throughout the team is also a key factor.
  • It is encouraged to bring everyone along for the journey of innovation.
  • It is important to build upon the success of innovation, not just accept what has already occurred. 
  • Ensure that there is a low barrier to participate. This will encourage people to continue to get involved and will make even small changes more tangible. 

Innovation and Italian Grandmothers

  • “NO-DETS” stands for: Normal Organizations Doing Extraordinary Things. 
  • The NO-DETS concept originates from a story about the Salvation Army, which is outlined in the book. 
    • The concept can be likened to the way an “Italian grandmother” cooks, versus the way a professional chef cooks. 
      • When cooking, the Italian grandmother knows what the recipe is, but does not need exact measurements. It is a “little bit of this and a little bit of that.” 
      • This is, of course, in great contrast to the way a professional chef cooks, who likely follows strict recipes, requiring very specific measurements.
      • Like the Italian grandmother, in NO-DETS organizations, the innovation process is never really written down, it is just a casual process that works over time. 
  • The NO-DETs concept can be applied to large or small organizations.

The Importance of Psychological Safety

  • Psychological safety occurs when people feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, even if they are not fully polished or complete, without fear of punishment or embarrassment..
  • This is an incredibly important concept to have when encouraging creativity and innovation in the workplace.


  • Innosight is a growth strategy consultancy, and innovation has always been at the forefront of Innosight’s interaction with other companies. 
  • Their purpose is to empower forward thinking organizations to navigate disruptive change and own the future.
  • The company was co-founded by Professor Clayton Christianson, who was also the founder of Disruptive Innovation Theory. 

Innosight is also part of a larger enterprise in which they collaborate across all of Huron’s companies.

Natalie Painchaud Backstory

  • B.A. in Industrial Relations from McGill University
  • Ms. Painchaud previously worked as a Senior Associate at Cambridge Executive Enterprises
  • Before becoming the Director of Learning she worked as an Associate, Senior Associate, and Manager at Innosight

She has recently co-authored a book titled Eat, Sleep, Innovate: How to Make Creativity an Everyday Habit Inside Your Organization.


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