Future Belongs to Innovative Corporate Culture, says Rustam Gilfanov

To stay competitive, companies need to track trends, introduce new practices and use innovative solutions. However, this is not enough: there are people behind the achievements and it is they who need to be trained to think innovatively.

Rustam Gilfanov, an IT-businessman and international investor, tell us how to become an innovator and to develop an innovative corporate culture.

I think there is no need to explain the need for the skill to think innovatively in current realties. It does not matter whether you are developing an IT startup or working in the banking sector, today’s key competencies include continuous learning, the ability to generate original ideas, global changes tracking, as well as be flexible, creative and open.

Notwithstanding existing stereotypes, every person has creative thinking.

In 2020, creativity has become the key soft skill. It is the creativity that provides the opportunity to think innovatively.

I believe that companies can influence the formation of an innovative culture for their employees by adapting their old culture, attracting creative professionals and investing in leadership training. There are many ways to develop creative thinking and over the years of practice, I composed my own top-list.

rustam gilfanov
Rustam Gilfanov. Photo c/o Rustam Gilfanov.

In-House Hackathon

Hackathons are, first and foremost, about an innovative atmosphere. They light a fire in the eyes of employees, unleash creativity, and allow brainstorming on a completely different level. Thanks to hackathons, employees have the opportunity to influence the product or generate new functions for it. Thus, it is a good way to upgrade much more than just the creative thinking of your team.

Mastermind Groups Organization

Mastermind groups are small communities of people who meet to exchange experiences, motivate each other in their professional and personal life. Each participant has a short time (15-20 minutes) to speak on his or her issue concerning a certain project/self-education challenge. After that, his or her colleagues within 10 minutes give pieces of advice, share sources or comment on their personal experience.

Then a participant should work on their recommendations before the next meeting.

This technique works great for skills development and building a solid community.


When I became a mentor myself, I really appreciated the power of mentoring. It is a common practice in tech startups, and it is gradually becoming of great demand in other spheres. A mentor does not just share knowledge and insights – he or she sees the situation from the outside, designs new habits and helps to get rid of old ones.

By creating corporate education and training programs, more and more breakthrough companies are introducing new technologies, AI and VR tools. For instance, using a VR public speaker simulator, you can deliver your speech to a virtual audience, record it and then rewatch it, evaluating its quality. Such training could help to look at your performance from the other side and to learn to find unexpected observations.

It must be understood that it is impossible to implement innovations within the company without the active participation of business leaders. In my experience, it is important to inspire employees with your own example and foster experimenting. The future belongs to a corporate culture, where it is not in a person’s interest to be just a passive performer.

Bio Details

Rustam Gilfanov is a co-founder of an IT-company, an IT-businessman and an international investor.

Rustam Gilfanov was born on January 6, 1983, in the small village of Basim, Perm Oblast to a soldier father and a teacher mother.

In 2006 together with his business partners, Rustam Gilfanov set up an international outsourcing IT-company in Kyiv. Now this company is the largest software developer for the gaming industry, marketing and finance services.

A few years ago, Gilfanov withdrew from the management of the IT-company to focus on international investment in promising IT-projects in the area of financial technologies, gaming and streaming video. He says he is driven to promote charity projects in Ukraine, the most ambitious among them are “LuckyBooks” and “Biblioteki Maybutnogo” (Libraries of the Future).

Rustam Gilfanov is married, and has one daughter.