Catalyze Innovation that Advances Health

Innovation Culture Assessment



This Culture of Innovation Assessment is something you can use as a survey with individuals or as a discussion guide with your team, practice, organization, or institution. You can use it to guide your thinking, stimulate open dialogue among your peers, or assess the extent to which your environment is supportive of innovation. The Assessment examines the 7 key dimensions that studies have shown help foster a culture of innovation. For example, with respect to Risk Taking, you can ask:

  • Do we regularly try new things?
  • Do we generally do a fairly balanced and realistic assessment of risk, avoiding being immediately dismissive of new ideas based on the worst that could possibly happen?
  • In what ways do we provide emotional support for risk takers?
  • Do we actually learn from ‘failure’, or do our behaviors tend to punish it?

Exploring each of the dimensions will give you a good feel for areas of your group’s strengths and weakness. 

Working individually (completing a survey) or as a group, rate each of the following statements based on your personal experience in the team, organization, department or system. Rate each statement on a scale from -5 to +5 as follows:

  • A value of 0 indicates that you feel neutral about the statement.
  • A negative score indicates that the statement is not true.
  • A positive score indicates that the statement is true.

NOT TRUE                              NEUTRAL                                         TRUE

-5           -4           - 3            -2           -1           0           +1           +2           +3           +4           +5

Risk Taking

  1. My direct supervisor supports me if I want to try something new.
  2. If I suggest a new idea and it fails, I know that I will not be made to feel humiliated.
  3. In my team, department or organization the general tendency is to try new things rather than hold on to the status quo.
  4. Senior leadership is willing to take a risk on new ideas that might make things better.


  1. My direct supervisor provides me the time to work on a promising new idea.
  2. In my team, department, organization we seem to find the resources we need to fund innovative ideas
  3. I feel that I have reasonable authority to try out an innovative new idea.
  4. Senior leadership makes sure that there is both the availability of time and of money to support innovation.


  1. If I don’t have the information I need, I feel comfortable asking my direct supervisor for it.
  2. We are generally kept informed of activities in other teams, organizations or departments that affect our work.
  3. There is a lot of information available to me about what other teams or organizations are doing to meet the same sorts of challenges we face.
  4. Senior leadership openly shares information that is important to me and the work I do.


  1. I know what the priorities or goals are in my team, organization or department.
  2. My direct supervisor makes it clear that innovative new ideas are highly desirable.
  3. Priorities come down to me without pre-determined solutions, leaving me plenty of room to contribute my own ideas.
  4. Senior leadership has made it clear that innovative new thinking is required to meet some of our team or organizational goals.


  1. I am certain that I would receive recognition or praise from my direct supervisor if I put an innovative idea forward.
  2. The recognition that we get here for coming up with new ideas does motivate me personally to be more innovative.
  3. We celebrate and say thanks when someone tries out a new idea, even when it is not successful in the traditional sense.
  4. Senior leadership actively seeks out and recognizes innovative thinking.


  1. My team, organization or department has trained me in methods to support creative, new ways of thinking.
  2. My team, organization or department uses specific methods to generate creative ideas around the challenges we face.
  3. I am capable of generating creative ideas.
  4. Senior leadership actively demonstrates innovative new thinking in its own work.


  1. In my team, organization or department, people who think differently are respected for their point of view.
  2. The teams that I work on tend to have people with a diverse mix of skills and styles.
  3. In general, there is a high degree of honest and open communication between teams, organizations or departments.
  4. Senior leadership models high levels of cooperation and trust among colleagues.


  1. My team, organization or department has an underlying culture that supports innovation.


Once you have completed this assessment, you can use the following tool to facilitate a discussion about the results. It describes the factors that lead to a negative or positive rating on each of the 7 dimensions of a culture of innovation.



NOTE: This content is adapted from "Creating a Culture for Innovation: A Practical Guide for Leaders", written by Lynne Maher, Paul Plsek, Jenny Price and Mark Mugglestone, and published in 2010 by the National Health Service (England) Institute for Innovation and Improvement.