Innovation Leadership: a new fashionable trend or must have mindset for modern organization?


Innovation Leadership: a new fashionable trend or must have mindset for modern organization?

If you open any business magazine or newspaper it is hard not to notice innovation or changing leadership topics which are the modern frisson. But what does it mean in a real daily work environment and what benefits does it bring?

Innovation Leadership, as a general understanding, means encouraging experimentation with ideas and solutions within your company or team to design new services and products with the aim to gain competitive advantage. It requires creativity, a beginner mindset, being a 360° thinker, mastering team coaching among others. As I see it, it can be divided into three different layers: personal, team and organizational. Here are some tricks and tips how you can develop Innovation Leadership.

From a personal level, when we talk about innovation leadership my experience is that we should become aware and remember our childhood when all of us had a beginner mindset. The beginner mindset is one of the most important personal traits which we need to rebuild in ourselves as we forget to notice things. We just want them to be quicker and more invisible, but when we talk about innovation we need to notice customers’ needs and start observing them with the aim to improve and make their lives better.

The second very important thing from a personal level is creativity. We are all creative and creativity lies within us. We can not sit and think of one hundred different ideas if we have never done it before. To start with, we can think about at least ten different ideas, or we can, instead of looking into our phone, sit and look around observing the environment around us strengthening our creativity muscle. Creativity starts with beginning something new or unfamiliar for you and we can begin each and every day. We can try new foods, we can visit new places or meet new people. We just need to DO instead of THINK.

From a team perspective we have a few things to take into account when we talk about innovational leadership. First of all, teams composed by one area professionals are dead. It is known that changes come from diverse sources, so we need to form multifunctional teams to face them. As a leader, if we work in a multifunctional team more than ever we will not be the clever person in the room and we should think about how to lead these teams ahead. Another interesting observation from the innovation leadership perspective is that we reach results not individually but as a team, which means we need to work daily with a team, not individuals. As innovation leaders, we need to think about Team Coaching, a new mindset which requires the need to prepare ourselves for this new way of working.

The third thing to bare in mind is that customer centricity is the whole organization responsibility, not a single team. As we create multifunctional teams we need to let them think holistically about customer journey without dividing it between different units or touchpoints. Innovation leadership is about putting your team in the customers’ shoes and walking all way long through the customer journey willing to notice and solve unmet needs.

From the organizational perspective when we talk about this new trend we need to remember that teams working in innovation area bring us a more unstable, unpredictable way of working. To prepare for it, I would suggest to create a few rituals. First ritual: to cut this elephant into pieces and try to prototype changes step by step, measuring all progress in each and every prototype. We know from the beginning that not everything will work, but we will notice it quite early and will be able to adapt getting better results in the future.

Second ritual: comes from Fluxus movement and it is about routine. If we want to encourage our company to innovate we should start from dedicating time to it and forcing it to be a routine. For instance, every Friday from midday all your departments work on innovation projects. This routine will empower your employes and will bring more clarity into their daily work.

Third ritual: DOING IT.

Innovation Leadership: a must have mindset for modern organizations.

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