Successful innovation must be led. I know a lot of people say, “Creativity and innovation can’t be led or managed”. In my experience, if it is not led, the effort simply falls apart after a short burst of initial enthusiasm.
Let’s think about what you’re really providing as a leader of innovation. You are creating an environment where employees can maximize their innovative thinking and creative problem solving skills. To do this, you have to cast a vision of your end state, then provide the people, process and technology to support that vision. We’ll look at the people, process and technology specifics in a future post, for today let’s think about what must be included in the vision.
Consider that there are fundamentals of building any core competence in a large organization, and innovation is no different. As you read through the items below, notice you could substitute “quality”, “growth” or any other business fundamental.
1. Innovation must be tied to company strategy
2. Innovation must be a core competence of the business
3. Innovation must be measured
Thinking about these fundamentals, let’s add more vision.
…what would our organization look like if it were more innovative?
…what would it take to create an environment where someone like Steve Jobs (or your favorite innovators) would thrive?
…what would it take to turn our organization into the “P&G” or “Google” of (your industry)
…what role should the different types of innovation, incremental, product extension, blue ocean, etc. play in your organization? Hint: Consider the three items above.
Once the leadership team has gained clarity around innovation, you can offer a tangible vision to the organization. With a tangible vision and strong leadership, your organization will be ready to build a sustainable, repeatable enterprise capability.
Image Credit: Lauren Manning – licensed via Creative Commons
Sara Husk is an Innovation Solution Consultant for Imaginatik who has extensive work experience working with Innovation Central and Imaginatik’s proven innovation processes. A Six Sigma Green belt, she is passionate about collaborative problem solving and innovation. You can follow her on Twitter @innovationgal