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.
Great insight, Dwayne! “Innovation” is buzzword that zips around offices nationwide. Innovating, though, is about more than lip service and meetings. It’s the execution of sometimes-risky new ideas. It’s competing with yourself when there are no worthy adversaries in your market. It’s challenging yourself to confront and improve on CURRENT expectations. It’s refusing contentment.
Innovation is real work! Thanks for pointing out a great article and offering valuable insight on its major points.
You make a great point, Justin. I especially appreciate your point that our real challenge is to improve on current expectations. Wherever we are, that is where we are… we can begin the process of innovating and changing our environment today. We don’t need to wait for things to get better. The cool thing about life is that we have everything we need to change our circumstances already in our current environment, if we will change the way we think about the situation. In the end, this is what innovation is all about.