Ideas are innovation currency. Where they are not esteemed or given room to be explored there is no innovation. I wrote about this in the first post of the series.
In that post it is apparent that leaders must be open to hearing out those they lead when it comes to ideas. Another dynamic is team. A culture of innovation cannot be leader-centric.
Even great innovators like Steve Jobs worked with a team. In fact, one of the things he did on every project he worked on was assemble a team around it. He was careful and picky about who he took on. He had a core team on each project and would, sometimes, ignore hierarchy.
Leaders who think they need to have all the answers, all the ideas are mistaken and will never lead innovative organizations. Building a culture of innovation starts with team.
Great leaders realize that their mission is too important to have them become the center. A culture of innovation cannot in an individual-focused environment. Innovation will not happen if ideas are only supposed to come from one person or quarter.
To build a culture of innovation ‘together’ must be embraced. It is an effort of the entire team and organization. You cannot build a culture of innovation if innovation is ‘department confined’. I’m not suggesting everyone has a say in everything.
I’m saying everyone must understand what it is that you strive for. It must be communicated in more than a set of values on the wall. It must be obvious in every regard. Everyone must understand and see their role as contributing to challenging the status quo within and beyond the walls of the enterprise.
Innovation can also only be sustained through the efforts of all. Everyone understands his or her part. Everyone acts his or her part. Leaders understand that they don’t have all the answers. They see that it is their job to build and sustain a culture of innovation.
Leaders, stop trying to be the one stop shop. You are the team leader and not the team. Learn to play well with others. Teams, realize that innovation is not something to restricted to a select few but seek to understand your contribution. Be bold. Be /ˈherətik/.
[photo credit: fdecomite]