The Continual Innovation Culture


The Connected Future Business Culture:

The Great Project Management Accelerator


By Dr. Harold Kerzner

Senior Executive for Project Management
The International Institute for Learning (IIL)
New York and Florida, USA


Dr. Al Zeitoun, PgMP, PMI Fellow

Global Future of Work Executive
The International Institute for Learning (IIL)
New York and Maryland, USA


“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” is a famous quote attributed to the legendary management consultant and writer Peter Drucker.  We believe he was on the mark with his views.  As we look at tackling the topic of innovative cultures, we find ourselves dealing with a tight thread connecting the impact of culture on the business strategic direction and mostly what program and project teams value and behave. The success of tomorrow’s strategic programs and projects will highly depend on the how organizations learn and fast from the recent global experiences that have disrupted everything from the ways we work, think, secure our supplies, tackle the environmental challenges, or handle the growing major geopolitical conflicts.

The next decade is expected to rely on a project management culture due to the high shift to the project way of working.  Excellence in operating and strategically executing portfolios of initiatives will require a rethinking of work practices and ways of leading.  This is why we need innovation cultures that will get project managers closer to the board rooms’ dialogues and to the critical tradeoffs that executive teams will need to make to adapt to the highly changing expectations of markets and the increasingly complex ecosystem of stakeholders.

In this article, we will discuss several of the attributes of tomorrow’s continual innovation cultures.  It is in our view that a strong experimentation and learning priority will drive the strategic agenda of the future businesses that manage to achieve unprecedented growth targets and effectively move change agendas forward.


In 2020, Mohamed Alabbar, Emaar’s CEO, announced a shift to project-based work.  For many who have believed in the strategic value of project management for decades, this is an example of a welcomed move to anchor in place the value of a projects’ mindset.  Emaar abolished traditional job titles and turned to an operating model where employees are not being defined by a department they belonged to, but by the projects they work on (Nieto-Rodriguez, 2021).

If we relate this to the project management issues and challenges that we had been facing around projects success related to the classical silos that exist on organizations across the busines verticals and their impact on the fluidity of work, we realize that moves like Emaar’s, are superb in taking down many of the unnecessary obstacles and empowering the matrixed way of working those projects need and depend on.

One of the key reasons for the disparity in consistent excellence in projects’ delivery has been attributed to the shaky alignment across many of today’s organizations’ cultures.  Organizations have serious viruses that could negatively affect innovation and create consequences to the initiatives that we invest in.  In addition to silos, behaviors of leaders, where we spend our time, and what gets measured, are all among many of the viruses that need to be treated and thus handled with a new mindset and practices that create the future differentiation needed.


The high-level elements shown in Figure 1 combine a set of key building blocks that could be a strong foundation for the innovative future culture and its ways of working (Zeitoun, 2021).


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How to cite this paper: Kerzner, H. and Zeitoun, A. (2022). The Continual Innovation Culture; Connected Future Business Culture: The Great Project Management Accelerator series, PM World Journal, Vol. XI, Issue III, March. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/pmwj115-Mar2022-Kerzner-Zeitoun-the-continual-innovation-culture-series-2.pdf

About the Authors

Harold Kerzner, Ph.D., MS, M.B.A
Senior Executive Director for Project Management
International Institute of Learning
New York & Florida, USA


 Dr. Harold Kerzner is Senior Executive Director for Project Management for the International Institute for Learning (IIL). He has an MS and Ph.D. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Utah State University. He is a prior Air Force Officer and spent several years at Morton-Thiokol in project management. He taught engineering at the University of Illinois and business administration at Utah State University, and for 38 years taught project management at Baldwin-Wallace University. He has published or presented numerous engineering and business papers and has had published more than 60 college textbooks/workbooks on project management, including later editions. Some of his books are (1) Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling and Controlling; (2) Project Management Metrics, KPIs and Dashboards, (3) Project Management Case Studies, (4) Project Management Best Practices: Achieving Global Excellence, (5) PM 2.0: The Future of Project Management, (6) Using the Project Management Maturity Model, and (7) Innovation Project Management.

He is a charter member of the Northeast Ohio PMI Chapter.

Dr. Kerzner has traveled around the world conducting project management lectures for PMI Chapters and companies in Japan, China, Russia, Brazil, Singapore, Korea, South Africa, Canada, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Poland, Croatia, Mexico, Trinidad, Barbados, The Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Venezuela, Columbia, United Arab Emirates, France, Italy, England, and Switzerland. He delivered a keynote speech at a PMI Global Congress on the future of project management.

His recognitions include:

  • The University of Illinois granted Dr. Kerzner a Distinguished Recent Alumni Award in 1981 for his contributions to the field of project management.
  • Utah State University provided Dr. Kerzner with the 1998 Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to the field of project management.
  • The Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Project Management Institute gives out the Kerzner Award once a year to one project manager in Northeast Ohio that has demonstrated excellence in project management. They also give out a second Kerzner Award for project of the year in Northeast Ohio.
  • The Project Management Institute (National Organization) in cooperation with IIL has initiated the Kerzner International Project Manager of the Year Award given to one project manager yearly anywhere in the world that demonstrated excellence in project management.
  • The Project Management Institute also gives out four scholarships each year in Dr. Kerzner’s name for graduate studies in project management.
  • Baldwin-Wallace University has instituted the Kerzner Distinguished Lecturer Series in project management.
  • The Italian Institute of Project Management presented Dr. Kerzner with the 2019 International ISIPM Award for his contributions to the field of project management.

Dr. Harold Kerzner can be contacted at hkerzner@hotmail.com


Dr. Al Zeitoun, PgMP, PMI Fellow
Global Future of Work Executive
International Institute of Learning
New York & Maryland USA


Dr. Al Zeitoun is a Future of Work, business optimization, and operational performance excellence thought leader with global experiences in strategy execution. His experiences encompass leading organizations; delivering their Enterprise Digital and Business Transformation; guiding fitting frameworks implementations; and using his empathy, engineering insights, and collaboration strengths to successfully envision new business models and execute complex missions across diverse cultures globally.

In his position, as the Executive Director for Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, Abu Dhabi, UAE, he was responsible for creating the strategy execution framework, achieving transformation benefits, governance excellence, and creating the data analytics discipline necessary for delivering on the $40B complex country energy mission roadmap.

At the McLean, USA HQ of Booz Allen Hamilton, Dr. Zeitoun strategically envisioned and customized digitally enabled EPMO advisory, mapped playbooks, and capability development for clients’ Billions of Dollars strategic initiatives. Furthermore, he led the firm’s Middle East North Africa Portfolio Management and Agile Governance Solutions.

With the International Institute of Learning, Dr. Zeitoun plays a senior leader and global trainer and coach. He was instrumental in driving its global expansions, thought leadership, and operational excellence methodology to sense and shape dynamic ways of working across organizations worldwide. He speaks English, Arabic, and German and enjoys good food, travel, and volunteering. Dr. Al Zeitoun can be contacted at zeitounstrategy@gmail.com