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Creating a Culture of Innovation to Serve the Mission

How do you create a culture of innovation in your organization? It’s a question we hear from customers ranging from government agencies to nonprofits, startups to enterprises. At Amazon Web Services (AWS), our approach to innovation starts with our customers, and it is embedded throughout our business.

Creating a culture of innovation

Our culture of innovation starts first and foremost with our customer.

Amazon’s mission is to be Earth’s most customer-centric company. To deliver that mission, we listen to our customers and work backwards from their goals to reinvent and deliver solutions for them.

Sometimes this requires us to read between the lines – we like to say that 90 per cent of what we build is driven by what customers tell us matters, and the other 10 per cent are things we try to invent on their behalf based on their feedback.

To build and invent on our customers’ behalf, we hire builders – people who examine flawed customer experiences and figure out how to reinvent them. Keeping company with builders allows us to cultivate a community that is constantly looking to innovate.

We’re also committed to long-term thinking. We build relationships and businesses that will last longer than anyone here today. We deliver that long-term thinking by doing right by our customers over a long period of time.

Finally, our culture is rooted in our Amazon Leadership Principles – 16 principles embedded throughout Amazon and used every day. They keep our customers at the center of our decisions, guide our actions and empower individuals at all levels of our organization to be leaders.

Fly, fight, win – and innovate

Other organizations can create a culture of innovation by working backwards from their customers and their missions. Take the United States Air Force for example. The US Air Force’s mission is to fly, fight and win through airpower, anytime and anywhere.

The Air Force has taken a DevSecOps approach – or development, security and operations – in launching Platform One to rapidly deliver software solutions to warfighters. The Air Force is transitioning beyond legacy information technology to transformative cloud capabilities, helping the Air Force move at the speed of mission need.

Innovation drives mission delivery

AWS is honored to support the Air Force, the Department of Defense, and a wide range of other organizations as they transform their mission delivery. By working backwards from the customer and the mission, empowering builders in your community and maintaining a long-term vision, your organization can create a culture of innovation.

Dave Levy is Amazon Web Services’ Vice President for US Government, Nonprofit and Healthcare Businesses. He works with national security customers, civilian and defense agencies, nonprofits and hospital systems on their journey to cloud technology.

Dave is an experienced executive in the information technology sector, and he has passionately focused on the intersection of technology and organizational change for more than 20 years. Prior to joining AWS, Dave worked for Apple and Monster.com, co-founded Sulla Technology Group, and started Empire Capital Management.

References to the US Department of Defense (DoD) or the US Air Force do not imply or constitute endorsement by DoD or the Air Force.

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