A common CEO refrain, "We need an innovation culture." Really? It's a bit like Life of Brian. "We're all individuals". Wouldn't it be great if everyone thought the same way?
While we say we are after an innovation culture, what we really need is an adaptation culture. Darwin was right. Derek Sivers was right. (http://www.ted.com/talks/derek_sivers_how_to_start_a_movement.html)
We need innovation leaders to innovate and strong execution teams to adapt and evolve. To engage the customer. To engage the organisation. Having a vision for a new product or business is not the same as executing it. Dreamers dream. Builders build. Ideas are cheap, everyone has them. Execution is everything. Right brain, left brain. We need both to operate effectively as human beings. The same holds true for commercial organisations.
While I firmly believe everyone is creative, not everyone is innovative. (http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html). Innovation requires risk tolerant application. Like jumping out of a plane. Take the plunge ... but trust the guy who packed your parachute.
Steve Jobs didn't replicate himself into a culture. He aligned his organisation behind a common vision and recognised those who could contribute to delivery and those that could not (http://kensegall.com/insanely-simple-book/). He built a team who could get behind his ideas and standards and mould them into realistic deliverables. His core team, like Jonathan Ives, aligned behind the vision, adapted and contributed to deliver a greater outcome. We clearly recognise the contribution. The sum of the deliverable exceeded the initial vision. Always the way.
Innovators don't create great companies. Teams do. Teams that can recognise an innovative concept, align behind it and adapt it to a market making deliverable. I'll take an adaptation culture over an innovation culture any day.