Although our business leaders constantly confirm that innovation is in their top three priorities yet they stay stubbornly disengaged in facilitating this across their organizations, especially the larger ones. Of course I am not suggesting this is all our business leaders but a higher level than we care to admit too.
Innovation is still a mystery for many leaders
I would argue innovation and its ‘make up’ remains a mystery to nearly all our leaders. They are more than willing to allocate responsibility down the organization, failing to recognize their pivotal role in managing or orchestrating innovation engagement themselves, or even ensuring the mechanisms are fully in place. Why is this?
Time and time again you read one report after another, about the leadership gap in innovation or issues relating to innovation disconnecting from the top of the organization. Can they all be wrong, if not then why aren’t our CEO’s listening?
Why are we not resolving this and only just keep reporting it, it seems it is falling on deaf ears? Those deaf ears are the shareholders and the external directors responsible, the members on the board, surely each are pushing for growth through innovation, I trust? Maybe not, perhaps they are entirely happy to ‘limp’ along on the road to know where special.
The one really important thing we need to get established within all our organizations, large and small is a “well-articulated innovation strategy. This is by far the most important constraint for companies to reach their innovation targets.” These are the conclusions from a joint study by Capgemini Consulting and IESE in their report “Innovation leadership study”
In the report they mentioned not just the lack of many formal mechanisms were missing but the total environment for innovation was missing this explicit innovation strategy.
That is such a serious failure at the top of organizations in my opinion. How can leaders expect innovation if they remain unclear of their role and function in facilitating and encouraging it? Can this change?
The present argument needs moving on and resolving
There is no argument surely that we need to break into this leadership gap around innovation? We need to offer suggestions towards their role, to address this lack of engagement or awareness? We need to provide an organizing framework that achieves alignment into the organizations goals and provides the structure across innovation that can ‘cascade’ down and across an organization.
The end aim is that so all those involved within the organization, or closely associated with it, can relate too and ‘gather’ around an overarching framework, articulated and constructed from the top, that guides innovation. As many of you have read and positively responded, Jeffrey Philips and I have developed the Executive Innovation Work Mat.
We want to narrow this leadership gap and organization understanding so as to achieve a specific connection between leaders and their role in how they can facilitate and bridge this clear divide and present seen ‘impediment’ for innovation. The leaders of organizations are no different from all the employees working within the company, they are all looking to secure a sustaining future and participate in a vibrant one that primarily comes from the innovation engine needed for all businesses and economic growth.
We seek to bridge the innovation leadership gap
The contribution of the leaders within organizations falls mainly on defining their roles and points of influence when it comes to innovation. To achieve this it requires mapping out the innovation landscape, laying out its parts in a coherent way for all to relate too. We believe this work mat framework approach can be one of the primary organizing ways for that engagement and identification so much needed.
In organizations this needs internal discussions to recognize this ‘gap’ and then gain the leadership’s attention to how this can be addressed. The proposed integrated innovation work mat framework might be the place to start and our arguments might be the catalyst.
We can offer a clear ‘way forward’ for engagement and alignment that can help, perhaps radically, the organization to establish innovation firmly into the minds of the boardroom and their vital role to play within this real need for all to engage in.
Just suggesting it lifts me spirits, maybe I’m not as depressed as I first thought, optimism has entered the room along with the sunshine. It is certainly the appropriate time we got our leaders fully engaged in innovation and understanding the critical role they should be playing.
image credit: photo-dictionary.com
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Paul Hobcraft runs Agility Innovation, an advisory business that stimulates sound innovation practice, researches topics that relate to innovation for the future, as well as aligning innovation to organizations core capabilities.