Creating Innovative Sporting Cultures: Enabling an Innovation Enterprise

  • James Skinner
  • Aaron C. T. Smith
  • Steve Swanson


This chapter highlights the relationship between change and innovation, with a particular emphasis on why a sport enterprise must recalibrate its cultural expectations and norms in order to accommodate a lasting innovative culture. It further explains how sport enterprises can approach innovation in a practical sense. That is, how to cultivate new ideas, develop them into proof of concept prototypes, and subsequently scale these experimental products into commercially viable offerings. The chapter also deals with how innovation can be embedded and integrated within a sport enterprise. It outlines how rituals offer a unique and effective vehicle for cultural modification. Rituals revolve around key organisational functions, instil commitment and belonging, depict successful behaviours, and deliver acknowledgement and attention to those who excel at them. Several team approaches are recommended for tackling pivotal organisational values through rituals and their accompanying narratives, symbols, assumptions, and beliefs. Finally, the chapter provides some guidance on how cultural innovation can be measured. This chapter concludes that many sport enterprises struggle to not only make innovation a living part of their cultures, but to even successfully enable a single, discrete innovative initiative. Sustainable innovation cannot be enforced through directive strategy, procedural compliance, or charismatic leadership. It requires a cultural readjustment of the kind that some might find counterintuitive because innovation thrives in environments that operate as close to chaos as they do to order. Ironically, sport enterprises find this precursor to innovation just as demanding as those from other sectors, despite the fact that their core product resides firmly in that ambiguous, turbulent, and dynamic territory.


Change Prototyping Rituals Teams Symbols 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Skinner
    • 1
  • Aaron C. T. Smith
    • 1
  • Steve Swanson
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Sport BusinessLoughborough University LondonLondonUK

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