In his book, Innovative Leadership, David Weiss describes how successful innovative leaders run their businesses. Here's a summary of his findings:
A LEADER OF INNOVATION REQUIRES THREE THINGS:
- Emotional Skills
- Analytic Skills
- Innovative Intelligence
LEADERS OF INNOVATION:
- Analyze a problem (maybe a new and complex one) and come up with a solution.
- Manage and inspire a team to create innovative solutions. They create an innovative culture, one where the bosses encourage innovation and the people are honest and communicative.
- Form cross-functional teams with many different specialties to incorporate many viewpoints. Ex: If you have seven accountants, they’re all going to have similar ideas. If you have a doctor, a lawyer, a marketer etc., they’ll view the problem from different angles and have different solutions.
- Engage in risk-taking and focus on how they can deliver value to the customer.
A COMMON MISTAKE:
- “Out of the box” thinking and “no constraints” brainstorming. In reality, innovation works very well under constraints.
- These constraints work for businesses. Why? Because they have budgets and deadlines. We need innovation along productive lines: clear boundaries, clear accountabilities.
HOW TO GUIDE INNOVATIVE THOUGHT:
- Step 1: Build a framework. Gain insight into the problem, understand its context and urgency, define the problem, and know the boundaries. Know who’s responsible, and what you need to get done.
- Step 2: Analyse root causes and assumptions. Find out why you need the innovation and where. Why isn’t experience and knowledge helping?
- Step 3: Once you clarify the issue and where the innovation is necessary, let’s discover solutions.
- Step 4: Plan. Now that you have your innovative idea, find out how to get it done. Include risk-management strategies here.