But we are here to talk about innovation leadership.Innovation comes in the most surprising forms and locations. They can be something huge and obvious, like the first steam trains, to something small and seemingly ridiculous, like thisField Ration Eating Device, or FRED.While in the Australian Army, I prepared and ate a lot of meals with this little thing.Bottle opener, can opener and spoonNecessity is the best driver of innovation. They needed something small, light
I like to think about Innovation as invention that has significant value or use.So, when talking about Innovation, I want you keep these 3 aspects in mind.Innovation is about providing a solution to an identified need. As part of this, you need to be working out the market for solving that need.I’m never seen innovation that wasn’t the result of creativity. While it might seem obvious, creativity means people. So when looking for innovation from groups of people, you need a combination of the right people and the environment and the right motivation.The last aspect is execution. For innovation to be successful, if you don’t get execution right, it will come to nothing. I think the canonical example of execution in the last decade was the original iPhone.
Yes, this is a stupid example – but it highlights a problem I spend a lot of time coaching people out of – myself including.The first step in having a team be successful in innovation is to break them out of what comes naturally.“I have an idea, now what problem does it solve?” That is rarely successfully. Sure, you’ll get the one of hit, but it’s not a repeatable model you can build a business off.I don’t know of any better way to seed innovation than getting the people that build, in front of customers – and just listening.
Once you’ve listened, you can start sifting through it to identify underlying problems.Work out how many in the market have similar situations. How do you find how many people even have the potential to have a similar problem?Part of that, is then working out how many people do have the same problem.Lastly, if they are not going to pay for it, then it’s probably not worth your time to solve.
So, you now know a few problems customers have that are worth solving. People will often try to put a process around that. Something I was told several years ago was that process is the killer of creativity.Process is great at stream-lining operations, making sure undue risk isn’t taken. Innovation is all about risk.Playground example
At the end of the day, people want to be creative.
Innovation isn’t just about tangibles. Innovation isn’t just external outputs.Rocket Internship program
Influence above MandatesOwnership and AccountabilityWarren Bennis ‘Leaders do the right thing; managers do things right’Warren was an advisor 2 Four American presidents and founder of the Leadership Institute at University of Southern California
Book, Berkley professor
Innovation Leadership - Public version
Dan McGrath | Managing Director, Research &