Being innovative is a growth mindset and a proactive attitude.
Due to the complex nature of modern businesses, business innovation today is more complex, often the “cross-science” management discipline. Today’s leaders need to deal with constant ambiguity and unprecedented uncertainty, they naturally gravitate to a leadership role when things are unknown, things will change, technology is involved, a tough problem has to be solved, etc.
Innovative leadership is more open, influential and interdisciplinary: Since innovation is fundamentally about challenging common beliefs, breaking assumptions, having more assumptions uncovered will lead to greater innovation. The difference between innovative leaders and conventional managers is not about how many answers you have, but about how well you can ask the open questions to attract fresh insight and leverage all sorts of information to perceive the big picture into which the knowledge fits, connect wider dots to discover patterns, generate novel ideas and enhance leadership influence.
Innovative leadership goes beyond the status quo, to value collective wisdom, which helps you actually understand the problem from different angles in order to solve it in a better way. An innovative leader has the transdisciplinary knowledge and cross-functional experience to connect the dots via unconventional connections, promote a healthy climate for innovation, inspire team members to create a portfolio of new ideas, concepts, and scenarios, coach team members on innovation management practices and how to overcome the barriers to innovation.
You can become an innovative leader if you put constant effort to nourish these human instincts that are innate: humility, curiosity and creativity: Truly curious people are more interested in what they don’t know rather than just providing answers to show what they do know. Leaders with intellectual curiosity are able to ask insightful questions, appreciate invaluable feedback, initiate creative dialogues and healthy debates to brainstorm fresh ideas and unique insight for spurring innovation all the time. Leadership is an ability to be able to not only ask the right questions but understand the context. Intellectual curiosity is one of the key ingredients to spark innovation. The style of innovative leadership is to be inspirational and inquisitive, to lead boldly by asking “Why not,” to articulate the strategic rationale and boost creative energy by asking “What if” or “How about” to reimagine new possibilities.
It is good to be confident in a natural way and there is no egotism in that. When you identify with your higher self, strength, or some other definition of the higher part of you which is not ego, you feel totally at peace to keep mind flow and stimulate creative energy. Greater leaders can strike the right balance of confidence and humility; knowledge and imagination, and deal with leadership paradox smoothly. Listening to others’ input with humility may be useful to facilitate deep empathy which, in turn, facilitates creativity seeds and cultivates the culture of curiosity and creativity. Deep listen; make room for others to discover their own insights; or give room for their perspectives to emerge to the collective creativity,
Top leaders with high-level innovation competency can set the tone for encouraging innovation and build a unique innovation capability portfolio: Leadership in the coming decade will need to be more adaptive and distributed, as the command-and-control style that has dominated the twentieth century gradually lost its steam due to blurred territories and rapid change. When people have the courage to leave inside box thoughts and standards to seek additional resources, updated knowledge, and gain new experiences, they are open to stepping outside that box into unfamiliar territories, spur innovation proactively, and build professional competencies to innovate. The leaders with cognitive brain power and creative energy can clarify a clearer vision, shape advanced mindsets, and build a portfolio of innovation capabilities in lifting leadership effectiveness and deepening leadership influence.
Innovation becomes simply creating value by solving simple or complex problems in alternative ways. Top leaders with high-level innovation competency can set the tone for encouraging innovation and advocating changes. Developing people’s innovative mindset and innovation competency raise different “learning” issues that organizations must deal with smoothly. Innovation competency differentiates creative leaders from traditional leadership; transformative leadership from transactional leadership. The essence of innovative leadership is to be openness, show flexibility, break down outdated rules, explore the emerging opportunities or new ventures, deploy great ideas, optimize processes, and build long term business advantage.
Being innovative is a growth mindset and a proactive attitude. Innovation leadership is in strong demand as organizations need to invest in the cultivation of capacity for innovation and recognize innovators with varying talent and strengths, manage a healthy innovation portfolio with the right mix of incremental innovation and breakthrough innovation, to reap the short-term gain and long-term innovation benefits in a structural way.