Five top tips on creating a culture of innovation in the software and tech space

At our recent executive software and tech event, Matt Henderson, Head of EMEA at payments platform Stripe, discussed building a culture of innovation within software and tech businesses. We share his five top tips on how to shape your organisation to be persistently innovative.


We were delighted to host a dinner for a small selection of our CEO and chair network in the software and tech space to hear from keynote speaker, Stripe’s Matt Henderson, on how to build a persistently innovative organisation.

With 20 years’ experience of investing in and working for ground-breaking, fast-growing technology businesses, Matt’s track record of innovation is strong. Matt led product management at Google Play, helped Amazon build its first automated systems for pricing, marketing and inventory, and founded shopping analytics business, Rangespan, subsequently bought by Google.

Here are his five tips for designing a culture of innovation:

1. Don’t compromise on people and performance

The most successful companies very consciously seek out the best talent – the top 1% in terms of intellect, attention to detail and determination. Optimising performance of a high quality team requires a certain level of discomfort within the organisation. Disagreement is healthy, as long as it’s followed by commitment to the decisions that are reached.

2. Build for the long-term

It is better to cannibalise yourself, than to let others cannibalise you. Great ideas for tomorrow can sometimes face resistance from those focusing on delivering today’s products and services.

3. Identify the most critical KPIs and never lose focus from them

“North Star” metrics set the agenda for your whole organisation and everyone should know what they are – these are the small handful of key performance indicators that determine the business’s success. Everyone across the business should know what the key metrics are and why they’re important, and they should be a guiding force for decisions being made every day around the business.

4. Establish feedback loops and iterate at speed

No idea is perfect straight away, but high-quality feedback from your customers – both direct and in your observation of their behaviours – will help you hone your products and services. Aim to do this at an accelerated rate. Make the change, observe the impact, modify and repeat. With the right tools and responsive customers, each loop can take less than 24 hours.

5. Support autonomy but mitigate against self interest

Fast-growing companies often find that individuals and teams worry more about their own projects than supporting collective success, particularly as resources are stretched. Execution autonomy is to be encouraged but build performance metrics and feedback processes that encourage company-wide success and clearly ladder up to the company’s critical KPIs.

If you’re a business owner in the tech and software space and are looking to build an innovative culture, we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch by emailing

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