STOP “talking” about Innovation and get into the action to “being” an innovative leader.

Many leaders are good at talking about innovation and few excel at being innovative themselves.

All talk and no walk, Why are leaders talkers of innovation and not doers of innovation?

Last year I was sitting in my online class at Harvard Business School and analyzing a case study done by Clayton Christensen on companies for their innovation on what he called “Disruptive Innovation.”

During the course at HBS I leaned from Prof. Clayton Christensen about the innovation strategies leaders use to become innovative companies. Some of the companies included in the case study were Target, IBM, Godrej, Proctor and Gamble, Apple, Amazon to name a few. There are many dimensions to being a successful innovative company. The dimension I want to share today is the behaviors of the leadership within Innovative companies.

Many leaders are good at talking about innovation and few excel at being innovative themselves.

How to be an effective Innovative leader?

In Study done by MIT (Hal Gregersen and Clayton Christensen) found the below attributes that make an effective innovative leader:

They are good at asking good questions.

The leaders provoke ideas and other questions by just asking questions. Now, asking questions can get annoying. Innovative leaders also take responsibility.

They take responsibility to get answers

Innovative leaders spend time in the field or are spending time with the team. They get out of the office to get answers, to look at data, to get data. They’re like anthropologist – observing processes, getting insights and digging for data and information.

Network and talk to people

Innovative leaders are always looking for new ideas. If they want an idea for a great new business, they will talk to different people with different perspectives and even from different industries. That makes sense. Doesn’t it?

Imagine if you only talked to people who are just like you. Well then, You are only going to get the answers you already know or those that align to your thought process and that would not spark new ideas in your brain.

Experiment and experimenting constantly

Innovative leaders are experimenting new and different things – products, services, business models..etc. They are doing this by going small, fast, and cheap. They’re trying to figure out the creative, and productive solution to a problem.

The world view – Observing the world.

Intellectually Innovative Leaders are looking at different aspects in the world from solutions developed – successful and failures. They are observing and creating associations by connecting different things, ideas, tools and systems to solve real life problems.

Innovative Leaders build an organization like them where they embed innovation skills deep in all levels of their organization. Their strategy, investments and day to day behaviors are all aligned to creating new and better services, products and business models to solve real world problems.

What would you say to leaders to walk the talk? How can we get more leaders from talkers of innovation to doers of innovation.

Many leaders are good at talking about innovation and few excel at being innovative themselves. Don’t just be an effective leader – Be an effective innovative leader


Thanks for reading my article. You can connect with me on social media:

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Photo Credit –

Young Woman With a Megaphon Photo by Pressmaster from Pexels

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