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How can your organization inspire Innovation? With long-term commitment to progress of the process, leaders must drive the journey from start through finish. Clearly-defined expectations towards the progress, as well as a definitive end-result are imperative elements involved. As a leader, one must inspire and drive the team. Regular meetings and dedication to touching on progress week-by-week are mandatory, and a clearly-outlined definition of the desired culture of the company helps each member of an organization understand innovative patterns, inspiring them to work together towards the success of innovation.
As a perfect and current example, the Fifth Annual Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Meeting attracted top CEOs and world leaders this week in New York; this year’s theme heavily focusing on Innovation as a top priority and driver towards worldwide economic recovery and growth. Setting the tone, President Barack Obama opened on Tuesday with a speech, mentioning “We need new businesses to unleash new innovations. We need new collaborations to advance prosperity.” Those words were spoken just a day following the White House’s release of a white paper that outlined a national innovation strategy.
Founded as a nonprofit, nonpartisan sector of the William J. Clinton Foundation, this year’s organization event held 960 guests from 84 countries. The key themes included harnessing innovation, strengthening infrastructure, building human capital, and financing an equitable future. Climate change, women’s rights, and health care are some of the topics guests were to assess in brainstorming targeted and profitable ways to improve each situation.
A panel on “Approaches to Innovation” was moderated by a BusinessWeek editor, and organized by John Kao, founder of the Institute of Large Scale Innovation at consultancy Deloitte offered an “innovation boot camp” to attendees. Kao stated that Innovation is “not just creativity. It is specifically about creativity that has value.”
When Inspiring Innovation, key elements in defining the desired culture within your organization and perpetuating Innovation within your organization include:
Understanding the goal and what it will take to reach it. Whether it’s a new product per year or a dollar amount in sales, setting goals and knowing what it will take to reach it helps your company plan out the resources and budgets needed. Identifying key players and leaders within your organization is crucial to building your innovation team, as their roles and attitudes will trickle down and affect their teams as well, and your leaders can make or break the innovation process.
As a leader, you must create motivation and proactively push for a successful Innovation program. Leadership by example creates both material and emotional support for your team to push towards the goal. Stay simple and focused on constant communication in regards to Innovation visions. Allow for open communication to be a two-way street and knock down barriers keeping silos apart by creating teams that are cross functional amongst departments that don’t usually interact. In doing so, creativity, cooperation and change will remain at an all-time high.