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INNOVATION AND LEADERSHIP 
• Lotfi Saibi, Founder of 4D Leadership House, 
• Consultant in the USA and MENA 
• University Lecturer and public speaker 
• Business Coach 
• Professional of leadership development 
• Graduate of Harvard University with a Masters 
Degree in Operations Management & BS in 
mathematics 
• lotfisaibi@4dlh.com (216) 29 156 157
WHERE ARE THEY NOW 
• AOL, Kodak, Blackberry and 
MySpace, E F Hutton, Compaq, 
General Foods, MCI WorldCom, 
Eastern Airlines, Pan AM 
Were all industry leaders that either refused to 
innovate FDH, did not innovate, or invested in 
the wrong areas  THEY ALL VANISHED
INNOVATE OR DIE 
• “It is not the strongest or the most 
intelligent who will survive but 
those who can best manage 
change.” 
― Charles Darwin 
• The greatest single threat to a business’s 
survival is lack of innovation.
WHO OWNS INNOVATION 
• Innovation  “something new” 
•  products and services, 
•  business processes, product/service 
delivery, business designs, or 
•  new ways of managing. 
• If leadership is about looking into the future 
 a Leader = an Innovator
MYTH about INNOVATION? 
• When it comes to innovation, the myth of the 
lone genius dies hard. 
• But the truth is most innovations are created 
through networks -- groups of people working 
in concert.
EXCELLENCE IN INNOVATION 
A LEADERSHIP ISSUE 
• Excellence in leading innovation has far less to 
do with the leader having innovative ideas; it 
has everything to do with how that leader 
creates an innovation engine: 
• Culture, 
• Values, 
• Organizational Structure and Processes 
• The case of two US auto makers
ENGINE 
• Engine allows us to reach CRITICAL MASS OF 
INNOVATION SUSTAINABILITY and achieve a 
competitive advantage 
• Risk Taking - encourage curiosity, disruptive 
innovation – Google, Sony) 
• Challenging the Status quo – focus on the why 
and less on the how - Apple 
•  Freedom of Expression – idea bank @Google 
• Focus of capabilities as well as competencies 
• Navigators not mechanics of the engine
ASK AND YOU WILL RECEIVE 
• Do they believe what you believe? 
• Do they have trust in the leader and one 
another? 
• Are people motivated (emotions, actions)? 
• How people want to lead and be led? 
• The function they can best serve to add value; 
and 
• The required tools to adapt to change in positive 
and meaningful ways.
IF IT IS THIS EASY WHY ISN’T 
EVERYONE DOING IT? 
Two common themes reveal themselves as 
major obstacles to innovation: 
• NO COMMUNICATION: The failure to 
effectively leverage the expertise of 
employees, and 
• BAD GATEKEEPERS: The failure to react 
effectively when new ideas do arise.
COMMON HEADACHES 
• No Communication: 
– Org. structure (i.e. teams divided by expertise) 
– Physical setting (different locations) 
– Silos effect (task definition) 
– The reward structure (personal or department 
objectives) 
– Example of the Telecom company
COMMON HEADACHES 
• Bad Gatekeepers: 
– When “expertise” becomes the currency 
 Experts become best “judges” for good ideas 
 Egos get in the way 
 Information is not available or distributed in a 
timely fashion 
 Too much focus on R&D and not enough on 
people 
expertise in one area may blind them to innovation 
in other areas. 
– Good to Great and L5 types
SOLUTIONS 
• People with complimentary talents need to talk more. 
• Rapidly test and refine ideas-bottlenecks sap the 
energy and demotivate the right people. 
• Small is good – rapid and agile (new metric/google per 
employee revenue/timetomarket) 
• Think twice about who to promote to leadership 
position 
• Synergy and energy 
• Be an early adopter of new technologies 
• Listen to your customers more – Steve Jobs
Thanks for listening 
And wish you the best of luck 
Lotfi Saibi

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Innovation and leadership

  • 1.
  • 2. INNOVATION AND LEADERSHIP • Lotfi Saibi, Founder of 4D Leadership House, • Consultant in the USA and MENA • University Lecturer and public speaker • Business Coach • Professional of leadership development • Graduate of Harvard University with a Masters Degree in Operations Management & BS in mathematics • lotfisaibi@4dlh.com (216) 29 156 157
  • 3. WHERE ARE THEY NOW • AOL, Kodak, Blackberry and MySpace, E F Hutton, Compaq, General Foods, MCI WorldCom, Eastern Airlines, Pan AM Were all industry leaders that either refused to innovate FDH, did not innovate, or invested in the wrong areas  THEY ALL VANISHED
  • 4. INNOVATE OR DIE • “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” ― Charles Darwin • The greatest single threat to a business’s survival is lack of innovation.
  • 5. WHO OWNS INNOVATION • Innovation  “something new” •  products and services, •  business processes, product/service delivery, business designs, or •  new ways of managing. • If leadership is about looking into the future  a Leader = an Innovator
  • 6. MYTH about INNOVATION? • When it comes to innovation, the myth of the lone genius dies hard. • But the truth is most innovations are created through networks -- groups of people working in concert.
  • 7. EXCELLENCE IN INNOVATION A LEADERSHIP ISSUE • Excellence in leading innovation has far less to do with the leader having innovative ideas; it has everything to do with how that leader creates an innovation engine: • Culture, • Values, • Organizational Structure and Processes • The case of two US auto makers
  • 8. ENGINE • Engine allows us to reach CRITICAL MASS OF INNOVATION SUSTAINABILITY and achieve a competitive advantage • Risk Taking - encourage curiosity, disruptive innovation – Google, Sony) • Challenging the Status quo – focus on the why and less on the how - Apple •  Freedom of Expression – idea bank @Google • Focus of capabilities as well as competencies • Navigators not mechanics of the engine
  • 9. ASK AND YOU WILL RECEIVE • Do they believe what you believe? • Do they have trust in the leader and one another? • Are people motivated (emotions, actions)? • How people want to lead and be led? • The function they can best serve to add value; and • The required tools to adapt to change in positive and meaningful ways.
  • 10. IF IT IS THIS EASY WHY ISN’T EVERYONE DOING IT? Two common themes reveal themselves as major obstacles to innovation: • NO COMMUNICATION: The failure to effectively leverage the expertise of employees, and • BAD GATEKEEPERS: The failure to react effectively when new ideas do arise.
  • 11. COMMON HEADACHES • No Communication: – Org. structure (i.e. teams divided by expertise) – Physical setting (different locations) – Silos effect (task definition) – The reward structure (personal or department objectives) – Example of the Telecom company
  • 12. COMMON HEADACHES • Bad Gatekeepers: – When “expertise” becomes the currency  Experts become best “judges” for good ideas  Egos get in the way  Information is not available or distributed in a timely fashion  Too much focus on R&D and not enough on people expertise in one area may blind them to innovation in other areas. – Good to Great and L5 types
  • 13. SOLUTIONS • People with complimentary talents need to talk more. • Rapidly test and refine ideas-bottlenecks sap the energy and demotivate the right people. • Small is good – rapid and agile (new metric/google per employee revenue/timetomarket) • Think twice about who to promote to leadership position • Synergy and energy • Be an early adopter of new technologies • Listen to your customers more – Steve Jobs
  • 14. Thanks for listening And wish you the best of luck Lotfi Saibi