Three Sets of Values that Can Inspire a Culture for Innovation - Ideas for Leaders
Idea #537

Three Sets of Values that Can Inspire a Culture for Innovation

This is one of our free-to-access content pieces. To gain access to all Ideas for Leaders content please Log In Here or if you are not already a Subscriber then Subscribe Here.
Main Image
Main Image


A new model based on the intersections of three complementary sets of values in an organization — economic-pragmatic, ethical-social, and emotional-developmental — can help companies create the culture of passion for innovation required to meet the competitive demands of 21st century business.


Innovation is central to a firm’s survival. In a world of demanding customers, myriad choices, and constant change, a company must build its competitive advantage on its ability to innovate. However, while espousing the importance of innovation to their employees and managers, companies are finding that they are failing to create a passion for innovation — and without passion, innovation becomes a failed aspiration.

Building on previous research, a team from ESADE Business School developed a triaxial model for building a culture of passion for innovation. The three axes are based on three complementary sets of values: economic-pragmatic, ethical-social, and emotional-developmental. Economic-pragmatic values relate to values such as efficiency, punctuality, productivity and discipline. Ethical-social values relate to how people behave, and are based on values such as honesty, respect and loyalty. Emotional-developmental values are related to intrinsic motivation, and include values such as optimism, freedom and happiness.

The Coaching by Sustainable Innovation Values (CSIV) model puts these three axes in the form of a triangle. This tri-intersectional model allows managers to constantly align and realign the organization at the intersections of the three axes. Specifically, the intersection of the creative emotional-development axis and the practical economic-pragmatic axis leads to innovation. Companies develop new ideas but also know how to turn them into economic reality. Royal Dutch Shell’s GameChanger innovation program has turned 100 ideas from employees and outsiders into reality. The intersection of the practical economic-pragmatic axis and the generous and honest ethical-social axis leads to survival. Companies develop sustainable innovations, such as the low-cost sanitary pad developed by Indian entrepreneur Arunachalam Muruganantham. His innovation liberated girls and women who had been forced to stay home during their menstrual periods.  The intersection of honest and generous ethical-social axis and creative emotional-development leads to sensitivity. For example, ESADE Business School and IESE Business School are two globally ranked business schools founded on the spiritual values of, respectively, their Jesuit and Opus Dei founders.


The Coaching by Sustainable Innovational Values (CSIV) model is a tool to help managers align and realign the different values of an organization to create sustainable innovation. To support these three different but complementary sets of values, organizations must develop the following key innovational core competencies within the organization:

  • Self-motivation. Innovators must be committed to and proud of the organization, and their contribution to the organization.
  • Constant improvement. No one must ever be satisfied with the status quo.
  • Self-development. Individuals should take the initiative to learn and collect feedback.
  • Co-creation. This competency depends on building respectful relationships.
  • Questions and stretching. Encourage curiousity, discovery and self-awareness.
  • Values and goals. Help people develop an action plan for achieving realistic but challenging goals.

Managers must create an open innovation environment that helps to build these innovational values and take full advantage of the CSIV model.



Coaching by Sustainable Innovational Values (CSIV): Portraying the Case of the 40-30-30 Tri-Intersectional Model. João Brillo, Simon L. Dolan & Kristine Marin Kawamura. ESADE Business School Research Paper No. 259 (December 2014).

Ideas for Leaders is a free-to-access site. If you enjoy our content and find it valuable, please consider subscribing to our Developing Leaders Quarterly publication, this presents academic, business and consultant perspectives on leadership issues in a beautifully produced, small volume delivered to your desk four times a year.



Idea conceived

December 1, 2014

Idea posted

Aug 2015
challenge block
Can't find the Idea you are after?
Then 'Challenge Us' to source it.


For the less than the price of a coffee a week you can read over 650 summaries of research that cost universities over $1 billion to produce.

Use our Ideas to:

  • Catalyse conversations with mentors, mentees, peers and colleagues.
  • Keep program participants engaged with leadership thinking when they return to their workplace.
  • Create a common language amongst your colleagues on leadership and management practice
  • Keep up-to-date with the latest thought-leadership from the world’s leading business schools.
  • Drill-down on the original research or even contact the researchers directly

Speak to us on how else you can leverage this content to benefit your organization.