Innovation Leadership and Why It Matters to Everyone’s Development

Effective innovation leadership creates an innovative culture that permeates all facets of an organization. Read on to learn more about what it is and why it’s important to implement innovation leadership in your leadership development program.

What is Innovation Leadership?

Dr. David Gliddon coined the term “innovation leadership” in 2006, while he was at Penn State University studying innovation in the workforce.
Innovation leadership is a philosophy and system that syndicates different leadership styles together to influence employees to produce creative ideas, products, and services. The key role in the practice of innovation leadership is the innovation leader, but successful innovation leaders rely on their employees to be innovative too.

Innovation Leadership Encompasses a Two-Tiered Approach

The first tier of innovation leadership involves an innovative approach to leadership itself. Leaders should consistently be looking for new ways they can approach their roles. They should also constantly be looking for new ways they can address challenges in their organization, how they can solve persistent issues, and how they can continue to evolve and be agile and efficient at addressing such challenges.
The second tier of innovation leadership entails leadership for innovation. Leaders should consider ways they can encourage employees to think differently and work in new ways to face challenges. They should look for ways to inspire employees to come up with new ideas, products, and services to stay ahead of the competition, especially when resources are limited.

Key Organizational Benefits of Innovation Leadership

Innovation leadership has a lot of benefits for organizations to consider. Below are just a few of them.

  • Disregard for Organizational Obstacles—While budgets and resources are important things to consider when coming up with new ideas for an organization, there are many ways to work around such obstacles when innovative thinking is truly encouraged and embraced. With innovation leadership, employees will start thinking outside the box of pre-assigned obstacles when faced with a challenge.
  • Endorsement of True Collaboration—When employees aren’t afraid of proposing a “crazy” idea that before would have been perceived as impossible due to organizational obstacles, they’re much more likely to share their ideas with one another. Unreserved collaboration of new ideas is what leads to effective conversations and effective innovation. Rarely, if ever, is an innovative idea conceived and carried out by one person alone.
  • Improves Product Research and Development—As soon as members of a team are encouraged to think outside the box and consider all sides of a current project together, they’ll ask great questions that lead to valuable research and development. They’ll dive deep into their inquiries and discover new ways to approach problems, with the research and data to back it up.

As you create and perfect a leadership development program, be sure to consider innovation as a key driver if you want your organization itself to remain innovative and successful.

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