What leaders need to bring to innovation

Haydn1. Resources and commitment. Leaders need to commit resources to open innovation. Any excuses around innovation should just not cut it.

2. Being prepared to be misunderstood. Good innovation leaders are prepared to be misunderstood while the market catches up with them. They take the long view and stand up for it.

3. Humility and avoiding the favorite baby syndrome. A senior executive can screw up the world of innovation folks by having a favorite project, one that gets the resources and fattens up its staffers. Some humility from leaders, to let the internal crowd have its say is important.

4. Living with more chaos. The most difficult part of innovation for leaders is often knowing that their people are on a problematic course but knowing also they need to find this out for themselves. The new buzzword is “setting the guide rails”, so as long as people are inside the rails there are times, even difficult times, when leaders need to stand back.

5. Lean. Lean innovation is a way round the challenge of getting leaders to take innovation seriously, so it’s not quite a quality of leadership but in time a commitment to lean processes might be.


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