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: