I don’t know of one organization that doesn’t use the word “innovators” when they describe themselves or what they strive to be. As a matter of fact, the word is so overused; it has sort of lost its luster. Clients today don’t want to hear how innovative a company is, they want to see that behavior and reap the rewards of it. Demonstrating innovation requires a certain behavior and leadership. In an article entitled Collective Genius in Harvard Business Review (June 2014), innovation has to continue over time, and that requires building a community that is able to create and generate new ideas. Therefore, today’s leaders need to create an innovative organization. So, how do organizations develop leaders who can create collective genius? At Google, Bill Coughran, senior vice president of engineering, recognized that building that collective was a people issue rather than a technical challenge. To him, individuals who understood that leadership is about creative collective genius were crucial to expanding and sustaining the innovation capacity of his organization. Great leaders, like Bill, know that their role is to create context and then let others run with it, allowing them to take on new roles and unleash their individual slices of genius. Now that is how you foster true and sustainable innovation!
Ann Banning - Wright