When you hear the word leadership, one tends to think of a person or a style of management. So innovation leadership would default the ingenious dreams of a visionary, who transfers those midnight downloads into a road map of success. But the big ideas do not take flight without the ground crew preparing the big air balloon for an endless sky of possibilities. Innovation Leadership is the story of a team of highly qualified individuals who are willing to plug into a vision (products/services), immediately receiving a burst of power that sparks the creative circuit within each member; emitting a light so strong that produces a must have, can’t live without item. In his article What is Innovative Leadership?, Jeffrey Baumgartner suggests, “Innovation is breed within the organization’s culture, therefore “Innovative leaders are not just CEOs. They can be team leaders, division managers and others who manage people and projects.” The synergy created from this union carries the vision. Synergy is defined as “the interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.” (thefreedictionary.com)This force is the foundation for innovation leadership.
In his article, 5 Ways Leaders Enable Innovation In Their Teams, Glenn Llopis references a Wall Street Journal article entitled, Together We Innovate, which spoke to the team concept in innovation. The article state[d] that, “most companies continue to assume that innovation comes from that individual genius, or, at best, small, sequestered teams that vanish from sight and then return with big ideas.” The article argue[d] that “most innovations are created through networks — groups of people working in concert.” (2014) What beautiful harmonies can be produced in this symphony of talent and creativity. Llopis says that, “Innovation is the creation of something new that represents a communal adaptation or application used and embraced by the masses.”(2014) Picture a symphony. Each instrument supplies a sound, a note though brilliant alone, together creates a sound that moves the masses to a standing ovation. Steve Jobs was the visionary, but it is a team that consistently creates a must have product. His legacy continues on.
“Innovators are those who can see, sow, grow and share opportunities.” (2014) The powerhouse team consists of the people who “know their customers and their specific needs; they take time to analyze their competitors and the evolution of industries, brands and the emerging role of technology;…they have a pulse on the marketplace and what it is telling them they must do.” (2014) The boardroom becomes a war room of strategy, logistics and execution. These key team members are not your average employee. They are game changers and innovators in their own right. “They are passionate explorers in pursuit of endless possibilities. These explorers are courageous enough to take that leap of faith and follow it through all the way to the end.” (2014)The energy produced from this type of team is high voltage that are a sign of DANGER to the competition.
To keep this high level of voltage, Llopis suggests 5 immediate things leaders can do with their teams to foster an environment of innovation and initiative:
- Trust Yourself Enough to Trust Others – each team member must become more transparent than ever before
- Collaborate and Discover – working closely together and taking leaps of faith together to discover new ways of thinking to create greater outcomes
- Communicate to Learn – a team should view themselves as an innovation lab – constantly challenging each other to learn from each other’s ideas and ideals and to plant the seeds for future innovations
- Be a Courageous Change Agent – embrace constructive disruption that ultimately makes things operate better and improves performance. Every leader must become a change agent or face extinction. As such, their teams must equally be charged to do the same; accepting the role of a change agent means taking on an entrepreneurial attitude, embracing risk as the new normal, and beginning to see opportunity in everything. As you do, innovation becomes second nature.
- Course Correct to Perfect – course correction steers you closer to the promise of the culture you are attempting to create. Course correction also keeps people on their toes and teaches them to adapt to new environments, where they can showcase their abilities and skill-sets to new people and personalities in different situations and circumstances.
I truly believe that the synergy created in teams separates the true innovative leaders. They work together instead of silos and the outcomes are amazing products and services that change the world. What does your team look like? And how will it change your corner of the world or influence the masses?
Youtube link- https://youtu.be/qQ2l678XmFc
Baumgartner , J. (n.d.). What is Innovative Leadership? Retrieved January 31, 2017, from http://www.innovationmanagement.se/imtool-articles/what-is-innovative-leadership/
Llopis, G. (2014, April 07). 5 Ways Leaders Enable Innovation In Their Teams. Retrieved February 01, 2017, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/glennllopis/2014/04/07/5-ways-leaders-enable-innovation-in-their-teams/#68a17f0310cb
Synergy. (n.d.). Retrieved February 02, 2017, from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/synergy