What we need to understand is that all change involves risk. It might not work. Then your boss will be responsible, he will get the blame.
Of course, he'll say no to your proposal to restore the old historical organ in your church. Of course, he'll say no to your new idea to get more qualified students to your school. Of course, he'll say no to the riskier strategy to treat people with respect.
Initiative is never given. Initiative is always taken. The answer is in starting small - somewhere where you don't need anyone's permission.
It's a circle:
"This might not work. Therefore, I need someone to take responsibility if it fails. If someone will take responsibility, I need his permission. He will not give me his permission because it might not work."
Whoever breaks this circle first - wins. Would that be me?