Do You Have A Declaration Of Innovation?

We have noticed that the most innovative companies are the ones that have entrepreneurial cultures. So with July 4th upon us, and in service to all the entrepreneurs out there, I asked Raphael Louis Vitón, President and Partner at Maddock Douglas, to share with you the MD Declaration of Innovation. —Mike 

While we were out preparing for our annual Fourth of July celebration—buying hamburgers, hot dogs, fireworks and updating our Declaration of Independence iPhone apps—we found inspiration (again).


The Fourth is one of our favorite times of the year. It is the perfect time to stop and reflect on the past—to remind ourselves where we have come from, and how far we’ve traveled.

Invariably when we do, we end up feeling pretty good about our future and even more determined to push onward toward our next innovation challenge.

It is also the perfect time to examine what we believe as leaders, especially when it comes to innovation. Specifically, are we:

  • Still committed to learning, not knowing? As a humorist (the verdict is out if it was Josh Billings or Mark Twain) said: “It’s not the things we don’t know that get us in trouble, it’s the things we know that just ain’t so.”
  • Constantly questioning the things that have made us successful, to see if they remain true?
  • Modeling the behavior, self-awareness and humility we want our team to practice? Does everyone—both inside and outside our company—know what we believe when it comes to how we think about innovation and how innovation directly supports our company’s purpose and growth strategies?

All these questions got us to write, with sincere admiration for Thomas Jefferson firmly in mind, our “Declaration of Innovation.”

We suggest you do it, too, for three reasons.

First, it feels good as a leader to get to this level of clarity about why you do what you do. So do it for yourself.

Second, it strengthens alignment within your leadership team and your organization overall. Everyone will know what it is your company stands for when it comes to innovation. Do it for your team.

Third, it serves as a beacon to fellow crusaders and kindred spirits. Do it for your future employees, of course, but also for your current customers and your new customers.

Here’s our Declaration of Innovation.

Declaration of Innovation

We exist to bring industry-changing ideas to market.

We succeed by consciously inspiring and empowering curiosity.


Because the world is full of wonder, but the world of business is not…we give each other permission to adventure, to think big, and to hunt for treasure.

Because people grow up too quickly and give up dreaming too earlywe strive to stay younger longer and lionize our childlike expectations of perfection.

Because power and precedence are often a hindrance to progress…we are freed from the influence of fear and the blinders of assumption.

Because questions of business are often questions of life…we inspire and empower curiosity to reframe the realities of both.

Because commerce is depersonalized, shortsighted and overcomplicated…we reflect that profits are the sum of people, interconnectedness and clarity of purpose.

Because victory depends on the capacity to hope, learn, act and fail forward…we live our lives as learners and creators, advantaged with an entrepreneurial spirit.

Because today’s opportunities and threats occur more quickly/less predictably…there is great work to do and the time for action is now.

If you want to create your own Declaration of Innovation (and we think you should), here are three guidelines to make the process a bit easier.

1.     Make it specific. Be clear about what you want the definition of innovation to be for your company.

2.     Make it even more specific. What is the intended role of innovation in fulfilling your company’s purpose and growth strategy?

3.     Make it more specific, still. How do you intend to measure and monitor your company’s innovation progress? What are the tangible leading and lagging indicators/metrics for both your culture of innovation and your business results?

Writing down what you believe will help make the hard work and perseverance of “creating the future” a far more rewarding and enduring crusade.

Happy Fourth and God Bless America and its wonderful entrepreneurs.

First published on June 25, 2012.

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