Innovation has become the business buzzword of the decade. Even the UK government office formally known as The Department of Trade and Industry now has Innovation in its title. In a recent survey of 500 clients CCL found that 94% saw innovation as a key driver of success and 77% said their organizations have made attempts to improve innovation.
Unfortunately attempts to move beyond the buzzword often fail. In fact only 14% of the CCL clients surveyed were confident about their organization’s ability to drive innovation effectively (CCL Innovation Leadership Survey, 2014).
A major reason why organizations struggle with innovation is that leaders are unsure how to drive innovation alongside their day-to-day operational responsibilities. Whereas they may understand the creative dynamics of innovation, they may not have the critical skills needed to ‘lead’ innovation in an organizational context.
“Leading innovation is not the same thing as coming up with creative ideas. We define innovation as creating and implementing something new that adds value. Innovation leadership is needed to overcome challenges and transform ideas into actions. Without leadership, ideas are not pursued or acted upon, and certainly not transformed into game-changing products, services, or solutions.” say the authors of this White Paper from CCL. The White Paper authors, David Magellan Horth and Jonathan Vehar, offer a series of recommended practices for developing innovation leadership focused on three key aspects:
1. Navigating the tensions between managing day-to-day business and leading innovation.
2. Embracing the constancy of change and remaining agile.
3. Taking an enterprise-wide perspective.
The bottom line they say is that “Organizations need to support leaders at all levels, providing the knowledge and experiences to help people develop the mindset, skillsets, and toolsets to spur a leadership culture that sustains innovation."