How to Lead, not Follow Innovation in Business

The ability to change and improve your products, services, or solutions in ways that create distinctive value for your customers is the key to a business’ long-term success. The world changes constantly. In the last 40 years, we have seen stunning advances in technology alone. We now operate on the Internet and with mobile, wireless devices. New breakthroughs happen every day, changing the way we interact with and respond to our customers.

The Effects of Innovation on Business

Businesses must keep up with this changing global economy. It’s critical for leaders to have the ability to build a climate where people are empowered to innovate and implement new ideas. Leading innovation is an ongoing process that is a part of every leader’s and every individual’s job. Author and businessman Harold R. McAlindon said, “The world leaders in innovation and creativity will also be the world leaders in everything else.” Innovation is the only way to create and sustain a competitive advantage for the business.

Whether you are prepared for it or not, your industry and field of work will evolve and change. You can lead innovation or simply react to a changing world—and thereby miss opportunities to learn and generate new, exciting, and value-added solutions. Opportunities to streamline costs, improve processes, and become more effective at work can be found everywhere.

Becoming Leaders of Innovation

Sometimes innovation can be difficult, especially if the company culture does not support innovative thinking. It takes an investment of time and energy to be creative and think about the future. When people are pressed for time or buried under accomplishing routine tasks, good ideas can get sidelined.

collaborative planning

People must also be able to listen to different perspectives and feel comfortable suggesting new approaches without fear of negative repercussions. A corporate environment that is too rigidly focused on rules can inhibit creative thinking. People must be able to take initiative and ownership for generating new solutions to existing problems.

There any many approaches and tools leaders can use to encourage innovative thinking. Team members can use a bulletin board or an idea box in a common area to write down ideas for process improvement. Newsletters can include a section that asks people to respond to open-ended statements that encourage innovative solutions to current business issues.

Individuals who make a difference by implementing new products or services can be recognized publicly. People learn that innovative behavior is valued in the organization through listening to workplace narrative and hearing about others’ efforts. Simple techniques like brainstorming possible solutions to a problem or using a shared workspace to collect ideas can stimulate creative thinking on a team. That said, successful innovation leaders can sometimes find themselves with an overwhelming number of ideas to consider and/or pursue. CMOE can help you learn how to distill your complete list of ideas down to the strongest concepts, fully understand their value, and expedite the process of continuous improvement.

CMOE Promotes Innovation

Innovation is a deliberate creative process. CMOE has worked with leaders, teams, and organizations around the globe to help them become more innovative. We can help you discover new ways to encourage innovation and evaluate innovation opportunities that may exist in your organization. We know that every member of your team can learn how to think in new ways, and your business is sure to reap the benefits.

Contact CMOE to learn more about how we can help you.

About the Author

CMOE Team

CMOE’s Design Team is comprised of individuals with diverse and complementary strengths, talents, education, and experience who have come together to bring a unique service to CMOE’s clients. Our team has a rich depth of knowledge, holding advanced degrees in areas such as business management, psychology, communication, human resource management, organizational development, and sociology.

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