Wednesday, October 6, 2021


Innovation leaders need to have a clear vision, effective communication and make a commitment to roll the imagination into reality.

Being innovative is a state of mind which disrupts legacy thinking or the old way to do things. True innovation always spurs certain creative disruptions otherwise it is not innovation. 

An innovator is not necessarily an effective innovative leader, because leadership is about vision and direction. Becoming an innovation leader requires being very open to knowledge, desire for insight, pursuing wisdom, building a creative environment, making positive influences and inspiring progression. Here is a set of innovation leadership parameters.

Vision: Being innovative is a statement of generating innate ideas. An innovation leader needs to have a clear vision to inspire creativity, explain the big “whys” clearly, encourage teams or staff to do new things, show the right dose of risk appetite, and present high risk intelligence to push ideas forward. The vision thing needs to be high enough for the organizations to test their limit; but practical enough for motivating staff to reach it. As innovation leaders manifest their visions, they base their leadership on an inspirational, positive picture of the future, as well as a clear sense of direction as to how to get there. Even though they themselves do not participate in specific innovation assignments, they can put the right talent in the right position to solve varying problems innovatively.

It takes vision and courage to be strong innovation leaders as they face a complex reality today; they must be at the right moment, with an explorable mind to catch great opportunities. Innovation leaders inspire creativity. They intuitively frame the fresh picture, draw on the timeless wisdom, present vision in a new synthesis by identifying the gaps and articulate the strategic rationale behind the venture, deploy new ideas, new processes, new adventures to adapt to change.

: Nowadays, inclusiveness is one of the very characteristics in spurring innovation, and diversification is the trait in creativity. Thus, innovation leaders are gap-minders, who understand, appreciate, and bridge cognitive difference, cross-disciplinary knowledge & expertises, and multi-cultural heritage. Gap-minding is important to stimulate creativity, as good ideas are multidimensional, and they evolve with time and by unexpected connections. Innovation leaders are good at asking thought-provoking questions to stimulate creativity, minding the gaps and bridging the difference to stimulate creativity.

Keep in mind, even if you have ample innovative ideas, it doesn’t guarantee innovation success due to the possible communication, idea or execution gaps. Gap-minding innovation leadership must begin with the inner-self-moving into embedding creativity, distinctive attitudes and behaviors around the norms. It is a unique and complex mix of growth mindset, innate capabilities, finely-tuned communication and strategy skills, as well as vision of purpose to create a disciplined, managed space for developing and testing new models, products, and business approaches.

Recognition: People are the center of innovation, neither processes nor tools. Thus, organizations should appreciate their innovators because they can lift the business out of the stagnation and toward the next level of the growth cycle. Innovation leaders are open and wise, able to recognize innovators based on their unique character, strength and talent, etc; truly appreciate those innovators who can rise above the status quo and take on a new set of activities that have them involved in the strategy development process, and maximize the full potential of the organization. Creativity relates to intelligence, empathy, idealism, and interdisciplinary understanding. Innovation leaders have positive attitude and free spirit to encourage people to think out of the box, go beyond their defined roles, help to engage employees, motivate people to solve problems in alternative ways, make sure there’s a steady ideas flow in the pipeline, improve risk intelligence, and manage innovation in a structural way,

Effective principles, practice, and tools are important to enhance innovation leadership. A recognition system and high visibility for all positive contributions will help in creating a culture of innovation. Great innovation leaders appreciate talent, put them in the right position, empower them, and guide them to solve problems innovatively. Innovation leaders define varying innovation personas such as idea generators, innovation interpreters, innovation stabilizer, innovation navigators, innovation evaluator, encourage people to take innovative initiatives, and collaborate smoothly to achieve high performance.

Intrapreneurship: The business world nowadays is so information-oriented and change-intensive, to rejuvenate innovation and improve the organizational growth and profitability, intrapreneurship is about discovering the new path for growth and balancing innovation with other organizational priorities. In specific, intrapreneurship is about balancing innovation with other organizational priorities, it presents a possibly even greater challenge and reward by pioneering the development of new products, processes, and services through enriching its competitiveness and developing business strength.

Intrapreneurship is an innovation leadership practice by foreseeing and applying emerging trends and creating a new venture or business model from within established organizations, shielding innovation teams from the organization’s dominant logic and established standardized operating procedures, which can stifle new thinking and approaches to catalyze innovation and unlock business potential. Strong intrapreneurship improves company performance by increasing the firm’s proactiveness and willingness to take risks, and by pioneering the development of new products, services, processes through enriching its competitiveness.

Rapid changes and disruptions are the new normal, innovation leadership is similar to situational leadership, in which the leader has flexibility and adaptability to use the wide range of leadership skills available to them for leading innovation and developing a creative culture to spur creativity. Adaptation is a phenomenon strictly linked to see learning and knowledge increase if shared and consumed and change has to be orchestrated at all levels for innovative problem-solving. Adaptive leaders are flexible in their leadership practices and know when and how to use and develop innovativeness of those that they lead and nurture creativity.

Innovation leaders make influence through openness, being able to seek ways and means of adjusting their perspective and those around them to nurture a creative environment. The biggest source of innovation within a company is built on culture - the collective attitude, the focus should be on the capability of innovative thinkers to contribute to particular professional practices in specific contexts. From the economic and organizational point of view, innovation leaders are able to adapt themselves and their organization through a collaborative and peer to peer approach to encourage creativity and navigate through the tough innovation journey for unlocking business potential.

With continuous disruptions and fierce competition, innovation is the “must-have'' unique competency of modern businesses. Business innovation depends on innovation leadership. Innovative leadership is dynamic, innovative, and progressive. Highly innovative leaders need to have a clear vision, effective communication and make a commitment to roll the imagination into reality.


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