Innovation must be top-down and bottom-up simultaneously

It’s telling that this BusinessWeek/BCG survey only lists executive titles in this answer, even as executive-focused publications like HBR are publishing articles telling us, “Because so much of the learning about customers and so much of the experimentation with different segmentations, value propositions, and delivery mechanisms involve the people who regularly deal with customers, it is essential for frontline employees to be at the center of the customer-centric innovation process.

Which is it, top-down or bottom-up?

One of our axioms at MIG is that innovation needs to be top-down and bottom-up at the same time. Good ideas come from everywhere. An open and participatory process yields more and better ideas. Learning from any part of the organization should be proliferated throughout. And support from top officers is vital in setting the tone and commitment to qualities of innovation.