Scott Anthony knows a thing or two about innovation. The managing partner of an innovation consulting company and Harvard Business Review (HBR) blogger. He often comments about innovation issues.
His recent post, Your Innovation Problem is Really a Leadership Problem, talks about the leader’s critical role in establishing repeatable processes for innovation in their organizations. Innovation scares people. It is unnatural. Because we don’t often practice it, we are not especially good at it. Scott also points out that innovation requires leaders manage in two opposing directions: to minimize mistakes yet encourage experimentation.
This should not be any surprise. A leader’s number one responsibility is to define the organizations vision and keep it moving toward it. Innovation is not a quick and easy, short-term project. As Scott says, it isn’t a point event. Leaders who succumb to short-term pressures and do not work with their teams to create, evaluate, and shepherd ideas that support the larger mission and vision will either be replaced by leaders who can, or see their organizations move toward irrelevance.