Innovative organizations are changing the way they view the competencies that are required in their leaders and managers. In fact, leadership and management are becoming less distinguishable roles.
Managers used to be expected to take on the day-to-day operations, to troubleshoot, implement new initiatives, manage coverage to make sure that there were enough people to do the work and so on.
The world today is more complicated. Managers are expected to be managers and leaders – to be more strategic. That includes looking for solutions to complex problems; problems that they may not know the solution to but are expected to find.
In his 1997 book, The Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge introduced us to the concept of a “Learning Organization.” This concept is as relevant today, especially when we speak of innovation.
This is because learning is the catalyst for innovation.
In a recent interview on CBS’s 60 minutes, Bill Gates said this:
“The more you learn the more you develop a framework that knowledge fits into.”
When conducting workshops we often hear managers say; “I encourage my staff to be innovative,” or “My staff knows that they can come to me anytime with their ideas for improvements.”
However, when you ask the staff they often tell you that “we’ve tried to voice our ideas but nothing happens.”
Why this great divide?
Maybe the manager doesn’t really buy into the idea. The manager may be too far removed from the day-to-day operation and doesn’t fully understand the significance of the idea. The manager may be having too many other things top of mind, or, simply doesn’t know what to do with the idea.
Question: What does the diving Kingfisher bird and Humpback Whale fin have to do with innovation? Read on and find out.
There are hundreds of definitions of innovation. Businessdictionary.com defines it as:
“The process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value or for which customers will pay.”
No matter the source, all definitions have one thing in common: Innovation is a process that generates something new, something useful, something that saves money or generates profit.
These definitions are fine but they don’t define innovation in terms that are useful for people in organizations to actually help them become more innovative.
Leading companies know that innovation can be managed like any other organizational process.
MLEK has developed the “Innovation Through Engagement, Creativity and Collaboration Model”. This powerful tool can be the chief reference for leaders and managers to use to make their organizations more innovative. Here’s how it works.