It’s one thing to be personally innovative; it’s another to know how to draw the innovation talents out of others. Most organizations overlook the crucial importance of this competency, assuming that well-designed innovation processes are all that’s needed. Or, that innovation can somehow be just added onto a traditional business culture. But innovation is ultimately a very human activity and most people do not know how to fully leverage this capability. What’s worse is they don’t feel that they have permission to do what innovation requires—and in many organizations they don’t.
Leading innovation is about much more than encouraging new ideas. It’s about building trust, granting discretion, managing risk, motivating and forgiving thoughtful mistakes. It’s about understanding that even seemingly small decisions and interactions can have a large cumulative effect, creating a culture that encourages or discourages innovation and agility.