What I love about this piece is that it makes innovation into more than a catch phrase or a corporate buzz word. For over 25 years, she has studied business management techniques, innovation and corporate culture. Guess what…a huge game-changing innovation like Twitter comes from a very small idea on the nature of communication itself. What does this mean in an organization?
Enterprise Innovation Who are innovative leaders? What are their qualities and how do they drive innovation within an organization? Jeffrey Baumgartner provides a tantalizing profile to which we can aspire. As I have written in the past, business innovation is a collaborative affair that runs from idea, through development to implementation.
This process normally involves many people with various expertise.
So the notion of a lone innovator simply does not exist. Innovative leaders are creative visionaries who have big ideas and, most importantly, can motivate people around them to turn those ideas into reality.
An innovative leader does not even need to be the person who creates the idea behind an innovation.
Indeed, I would argue that creative genius is less important in an innovative leader than is the ability to form a vision around an idea or set of ideas. And once she has formed that vision, she needs to be able to share with employees, suppliers and business partners the vision as well as enthusiasm for turning that vision into a reality.
Creative genius is less important in an innovative leader than is the ability to form a vision around an idea or set of ideas. Imagination and communication In order to achieve this, the innovative leader needs a powerful imagination and excellent communications skills.
She also needs to have confidence in her team and their ability to work together to achieve that dream. The innovative leader is not a micro-manager. She focuses on the big picture and works with creative thinkers who can add to that vision and make it greater.
Micro-managers, on the other hand, tend to stifle creativity and focus far too much on the details — causing them and their teams to lose sight of the big picture. Perhaps most importantly, the innovative leader needs to be able to communicate her vision and generate enthusiasm for it.
Her team needs to be able to see the vision themselves and be willing to invest their own time and resources into making it happen. Innovative leaders know that leadership by demand is far less effective at encouraging creativity and innovation than is leadership through motivation and inspiration.
Ideally, team members will also be making creative contributions to the project. After all, innovative projects are almost never comprised of a single idea.
Although they may have got their start from a solo idea, in the end they are the result of dozens or more ideas, ideas on improving the original concept, ideas on how to implement it, ideas to solve problems as the concept is developed and so on.
Willing to kill when necessary An innovate leader needs to recognize when her project is not working and be willing to kill it, no matter how much emotional investment she has put into it. She knows that if the project will not generate sufficient value to warrant continued development, she would do better to invest her energy, resources and time in a new innovative project.
This is something many people find difficult to do with pet projects. Innovative leaders are not just CEOs. They can be team leaders, division managers and others who manage people and projects.
However, for a team leader to be an innovative leader, she very likely works under an innovative leader of a CEO. She certainly works in an organization with a culture of innovation. Because if she does not have that culture of innovation, she will not risk trying to realise crazy ideas and she will find it extremely difficult to motivate her people to invest their time in her innovative projects.
Indeed, without a culture of innovation, the innovative team leader will most likely leave the company for another one with a more receptive culture. In some cases, she might just run off and set up her own company — taking her team with her!
Relevant expertise Lastly, it is worth noting that innovative leaders are people who have an expertise relevant to their innovative projects. When accountants or financial experts are put in charge of car companies, they are seldom innovative leaders.Another opportunity for leadership in innovation is the example that a leader sets in the way they lead innovation.
Organizations with histories of traditional thinking will need time and space to be innovative. Innovation leadership at CCL has spurred the development of programs, services, and tools, including an Innovation Leadership workshop and initiatives to build leadership capacity among communities, governments, and non-government organizations (NGOs) in Africa and India.
Innovation leadership at CCL has spurred the development of programs, services, and tools, including an Innovation Leadership workshop and initiatives to build leadership capacity among communities, governments, and non-government organizations (NGOs) in Africa and India.
And yet, despite its importance, innovation is a difficult quality to cultivate both in leaders and in organizations. In Conference Board’s CEO Challenge study, CEOs ranked “human capital” and “innovation” as their top two long-term challenges to driving business growth.
Innovation leadership is a quite complex concept, as there is no single explanation or formula for a leader to follow to increase innovation. As a result, innovation leadership encompasses a variety of different, activities, actions, and behaviors that interact with one another to produce an innovative outcome.
Relying on some of the strategies used by world market leaders, Phil Swisher examines the ways leaders can foster a culture of innovation within their organizations. How to Lead Successful Innovation: Lessons from Experts. by Phil Swisher.