I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty tired of hearing about innovation. How to do it? Who does it? Why do it? There are “tons” of books available on the subject and untold nano-grams of digits in cyber space devoted to it (do 1’s and 0’s weigh anything?) Having said that, I don’t want to belabor this topic. Innovation is simply looking at a new way of doing things and, hopefully, implementing a new design, policy, procedure or business model based on those new ways.
I think this task belongs to all of us in both our business and our personal lives. We “do” innovation by being willing to listen to others and avoiding NIH (not invented here). The reason we do it is simple too: the world is changing at internet speeds (and in case you didn’t guess, that’s very fast). If we don’t advance our organizations, they’ll be dead before long.
Leaders can of course be innovators. But if they are true leaders, they know that they aren’t THE innovator. They get that they cannot do all the innovation in their organization because they’ve developed team members who are smarter than they are in their areas of expertise. Which means, of course, that the leader has to have the courage to develop an environment that allows for experimentation, failure, incremental improvement and is open questioning of all “sacred cows.”
Are you building your team up? Are you making sure they grow and maintain their technical competence? Do you have an environment that fails forward faster?