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How Will You Keep Your Innovative Edge?

April 10, 2013

The market is always searching for the next innovative idea to transform how business is done. Are you keeping your team on top of their game? How do you keep yourself innovative? AMA asked innovation gurus Lina Echeverría and Geoff Vuelta.

How do leaders stay innovative?

According to Lina Echeverría, author of Idea Agent, “Innovation is recognized today as an urgent challenge, imperative to organizational–and national–survival. For leaders, it is also the aspect that often keeps them up at night. For years we have approached innovation with a series of processes and techniques (from business strategy design to ideation sessions to project management to name a few) with mixed results. Fortunately, today we are recognizing that beyond processes and techniques, real innovation comes from cultures that do not cease to inspire, impassion and empower practitioners to explore, act and take risks on new possibilities (as C. Sidle would put it). A. Karem summarizes it concisely: “To make things happen you need inventors who are dreaming and tinkering.”

Echeverría adds, “The role of leadership is to define a culture that honors and respects the passion of the creatives, that creates the space where new ideas are not only welcome, but are also challenged and discussed productively, where each individual feels empowered to bring her best and respected for doing so. The magic is that, given the freedom to be, creative people themselves will guide you in how leadership can best help them and the organization to deliver. The role of the leader is to understand what it takes to preserve the space for discovery and invention. It takes a deep understanding of the creative spirit and of the needs of an organization to deliver. And it takes strength, courage and perseverance. Given the space, creative talent will challenge leadership. In viewing these challenges as productive rather than intimidating, leaders will continue to expand and reinvent themselves. How else could they keep an organization innovative if they do not push and reinvent themselves constantly?”

AMA asked Geoff Vuelta, CEO of Farenheit 212, to define transformational innovation and how innovators keep their edge. Here was his response:

How do you keep your innovative edge?

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About The Author

Christina Parisi is Director of Digital Content at the American Management Association. Previously she was an Executive Editor at AMACOM Books and the Director of AMA Self-Studies.

2 Comments »

  1. avatar

    Working in publishing, I am continually searching out information and data on innovation because our field is going through so much change. I just read a very interesting interview with Dominique Raccah, publisher of Sourcebooks. http://bit.ly/17HPd0p
    An innovative publisher, Ms. Raccah discusses such issues as the Big Data, the role of a Digital Manager, what is being called Agile Publishing, and her company’s success at dealing with the quickly changing publishing landscape. A businesswoman and publisher who I feel is certainly keeping her Innovative Edge and keeping it successfully.

  2. avatar

    One of biggest drivers of innovation is the freedom to experiment and its corollary: the freedom to make mistakes. As pressure increases for all of us to do things more and more quickly — the fear of making mistakes grows too. If you’re a manager, to nurture that spirit of innovation, it’s up to you to lessen that fear, both within yourself and your staff. You must communicate to your staff that experimenting is welcome and that making honest mistakes is allowed. When you experiment, some things work and some don’t, that’s why it’s called “trial and error.” Obviously, you don’t want reckless experimentation. I have found that clear communication on the paramaters of any particular new project or new way of doing things is important. Also admit your own mistakes and others will be more willing to admit theirs.

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