Ranil Vitarana and Dineli Jayasekera outline how nurturing an innovation culture changes the game for organisations

Culture might eat strategy for breakfast but when innovation comes to the table, it changes the entire spread.

“All humans can be innovative if you create the right environment,” says CEO of Twinery Ranil Vitarana, and stresses the importance of having the right culture in an organisation.

Since organisational culture is influenced by the top, he calls for business leaders to let anyone and everyone challenge them. He says: “Not in an aggressive manner per se, rather to allow them to understand what drove them to their decisions.” And to take the first steps toward creating an innovation culture.

Ranil Vitarana

“Talent drives culture and culture drives innovation,” notes the Head of Human Resources at Twinery Dineli Jayasekera. She explains that an innovative culture is driven by diversity. “The more diverse a team is in terms of skills, mindsets, background, age, gender and everything that makes us who we are, the more energy there is for people to feed off each other and create a fusion that sparks innovation,” she says.

He notes: “When you have a great culture, taking away a few people does very little damage to the company, resulting in longevity and depth while giving the company character and a personality. This makes the organisation a place you want to not only work at but belong to as well – it becomes your family.”

Vitarana adds: “Then the whole company starts to question and improve every aspect of the organisation, from products and services to team benefits. Every employee becomes a goodwill agent for the company and everyone associated with the business starts contributing to its success including the growth of the firm’s portfolio. There is a massive compounding effect of culture that cannot be measured.”

Dineli Jayasekera
Head of Human Resources

Developing an innovative culture starts with recruiting those who fit in. “While skills and core capabilities are important, ensuring person culture fit is crucial. An innovative culture requires people who have the right mindset to share things, be open to learning, unlearning and relearning from anyone in the company, and handling failure well,” says Jayasekera.

Another important aspect that organisations need to prioritise is creating an enabling space for an innovative culture to thrive. “You need a safe space where people are assured of a solid foundation of trust and a support network,” she explains, and emphasises the need to create a community mindset while preserving individual self-identify.

Developing trust is an important part of instilling an innovative culture. Trust is difficult to build, easy to break and when broken, difficult to repair.

Jayasekera says: “A delicate balance of feeling safe and free is needed when you allow people to express themselves.” And she adds that trust is needed to understand that there are no personal attacks, only questions and feedback.

“In an innovative culture, everyone’s brain is contributing to the betterment of the company, whereas in the absence of that culture you are only as good as the ‘boss’

She outlines the importance of speaking the right language and notes: “Instead of using words like ‘constructive criticism’ or ‘positive/negative’ feedback, it is recommended to use words like ‘affirming’ and ‘adjusting’ to build confidence in people without discouraging them.”

An innovative culture is a golden ticket to success but it isn’t an easy one to build. “Organisations need to be brave to be different and open to be transformed by its talent, because a culture of innovation is not about one person, it’s about the collective – it’s always about people, people and people,” she concludes.


Twinery is listed #18 on Fast Company’s Fourth Annual List of the 100 Best Workplaces for Innovators

The 2022 Best Workplaces for Innovators ranks 100 global winners from a variety of industries. It’s a collaboration between Fast Company and Accenture where nearly 1,500 applications are reviewed and scored, to rank and endorse the top 100 companies for innovation in the world.

Twinery, Innovations by MAS was ranked No. 18 on Fast Company’s Fourth Annual List of the 100 Best Workplaces for Innovators. It shares space with global conglomerates such as Microsoft, T-Mobile, Adobe and PayPal to name a few.

“We are honoured to be recognised by Fast Company. Not only does this showcase the cutting-edge work of our team but it also highlights that innovation happens when you bring in the right talent and create an empowering environment,” says the CEO of Twinery Ranil Vitarana.

Twinery’s commitment to innovation is further testified to by the company winning the prestigious Clarivate South and Southeast Asia Innovation Award in the Corporations category for two consecutive years.

“We are proud of continuing to put Sri Lanka on the global map,” notes Vitarana and adds that the formula of Twinery’s success is keeping an ear to the ground. “We work on becoming good at figuring out what the world needs next when it comes to apparel and textile innovation with sustainability as a core focus,” he states.

– Compiled by Ruwandi Perera

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