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Do conservative cultures have a more difficult time with innovation than a more liberal society?
Christine Hade wrote:
hmmm....depends on the definition. if we are talking politically than i would say no..

If we are talking in general than i do think there is a difference. if conservative means more set in traditional ways, then there is less interest to evolve and change

Megan C wrote:

Michael Phelan wrote:

Tito Zamalloa wrote:
Very likely as the mere fact that they view (those conservative cultures) the world based on tradition may hinder the freer thinking approach that naturally breeds innovation

Sumant Parimal wrote:
It could give a mixed results, liberal society is goof for democratic innovation, while conservative culture with lost of controls and restrictions many be good at a selective innovation, but its spread shall be limited.

Ian Gibson wrote:
Short answer: yes. The dictionary definition of ''conservative'' is ''averse to change or innovation and holding traditional values."" In other words the definition answers your question.

However, digging deeper, this may not be so clear. I suppose it depends on the circumstances. If we are in a conflict situation and we need a structured, logical approach to solving then a conservative approach may be better. In freer societies where we are doing things for the greater good, liberalism may win.

Sandy Waters wrote:
Brett, your question offers a couple of answers, one related to corporate culture, and the other related to societal cultural influences.

Regarding corporate culture, I believe there are two answers at least in the corporate culture situations. The first is that conservative corporate cultures can still be innovative, but may have a higher bar for deciding which innovations to support and risk resources to implement, Consider a conservative corporation who has adopted that position after more than 100 years of experience, and with a very deep portfolio of innovative ideas and solutions, but chooses to be very selective based on keeping true to their chosen direction and chosen rate of growth.

Second, there are liberal companies who have a lower threshold for the innovation decision investment bar. They tend to be more liberal in their willingness to take risks, invest in more diverse solution possibilities, choose partners and markets with rates of return on the investments that others might avoid, Their culture is one that tends to be more open to collaboration, brainstorming, and exploring new opportunities.

Both of these internal cultures can at the same time utilize open innovation and seek to develop outside relationships that are complementary. Both can collaborate with others as needed.

Regarding the societal cultural perspectives answering the question related to a society, where companies need to make decisions that conform to the norms and values of the society, the more conservative, the more likely they (the companies) will be reflective of the cultural norms. Situations of this type occur when deeply felt personal beliefs carry over into business operations. If anything, the beliefs will guide the level of innovation where appropriate. A more liberal society may be reflected in the academic aspects and carry over in to the businesses and consequently into the degree of innovation that is encouraged.

Regardless of the conservative or liberal aspects of the question, societies need to solve problems, some similar in nature, others different, but both need a type of problem solving that accommodates the societal values.

Dawn Houghton wrote:
Yes. Innovation is about creating new solutions. By definition, liberals tend to favor change and conservatives tend to favor the status quo. As a result, liberals would more actively seek improvement and progress while conservatives would be more cautious before changing.

Lynn Altman wrote:
John Hibbing, a political scientist at the University of Nebraska woulds say "yes". His studies have shown that there's a "red brain" and a "blue brain", with the conservative brain being less risk averse. He was recently on Hidden Brain (on NPR) and asserted: "Conservatives are a little bit fonder of kind of predictability, of standard kinds of things. And liberals are a little bit more willing to experiment." I'd say that could tide over into innovation and the risk-taking that is involved with imagining new solutions.

Eric Ballou wrote:
That is a trick question in that it depends on how you determine liberal and conservative. Essentially the issue isn't 'difficulty with innovation' but the speed or willingness to adopt what is identified as such. Take a traditionally conservative business like banking - many are slow to adopt not just because of their own business mindset, but also the regulations and requirements of governing organizations to be able to process something 'innovative'.

Caleb DeLeeuw wrote:
Absolutely, conservative cultures have a more difficult time with Innovation than does a more liberal society. Conservative thinking is inherently traditionalist and inherently preventative of what is seen to be wasteful, a judgemental mentality which presupposes what is useful resource expenditure and what is a "waste". This presupposition relies upon an understanding of the viability of different paths of exploration when the exploration will in-and-of-itself provide the information requisite for such decernment. Liberal culture, on the other hand, encourages exploration, out-of-the-box ways of thinking, as well as behaving, and seemingly purposeless resource expenditures into unknowns. The bulk of major scientific and technological developments, and most especially the math which supports these innovations, came from paths of learning, experimentation, etc. which take the liberal cultural's approach and acceptability. Furthermore, odd personalities, strange personal practices, psychedelic use, unusual spiritual bends, and other eccentricities of personaliti

Michael Perman wrote:
Well there are different forms of being conservative. If we're talking political, as in Trump voters, then definitely yes - they are interesting in going backwards not forward. They want to preserve what was. They are not open to new cultural interpretations of life and they are divisive, living in a binary world where one group of people is right and one is wrong. That's certainly not a recipe for innovation. Then, for people who are conservative in business - and more protective and focused on procedures and answers - we need them for innovation because they get shit done. So, the answer depends on the interpretation of conservative and of "culture"

Himanshu Bharadwaj wrote:
It depends on how you define innovation. Industrial and more open societies define innovation as something that is mass produced, profitable and solves a problem facing a large population of people. Conservative cultures define innovation that solves a problem within a small set of users. It would be innovating to create a better hand operated water pump for a certain desert region. It may not be profitable when mass produced, win many awards or even be created a large known corporation. But someone in the village will innovate this water pump using local tools and materials that nobody will even notice or recognize in the outside world. The large-scale commercialization has changed the meaning of innovation. We live in western liberal societies and see everything in the world through that lens and sometimes have a bias towards the definition of innovation.