Driving innovation and growth

Whether your organisation is operating in a new or existing market, competitive advantage is always key to achieving growth. Such a competitive advantage is predicated on difference, which can sometimes be hard to attain.

Innovation is the driving force behind this difference, and as the leader of an organisation, it requires courage on your behalf to stand out from the crowd. You need to be able to look at, and do things differently to everyone else. In fact, a recent study surveying CEOs worldwide found that many perceive innovation as the single most important leadership competency.

Be that as it may, we know innovation and growth isn’t all that easy to achieve. For starters, competition is tough, budgets are tight, and creativity training doesn’t always work.

So what can you do, as the leader of your organisation? Do not worry – you’re not expected to be the primary source of innovation or creativity! But you do need to lead the innovation process, and recognise that your leadership innovation has the most impact in the organisation. How you focus your organisation is going to be the most effective way towards achieving growth.

The process starts with designing and building what I call the innovation architecture, which consists of four elements;

  1. Your own attitudes and beliefs – This involves accepting you are unlikely to have all the capabilities to run an organisation, so create space for others to fill in the gaps. Furthermore, recognise that it’s possible to influence your own future, through your personal actions and decisions.
  2. The organisational purpose and strategy – We know that clarity of purpose directs creative effort. So be clear about the organisational purpose – it’s not always about making a profit! You must be able to describe the core strategy of the organisation.
  3. The organisational design and culture – Embrace and allow diversity to flourish in your organisation. Diversity in the ‘gene pool’ of your organisation directly relates to its ability to adapt to changing conditions through creativity and innovation.
  4. The organisational practices and processes – Put in place practices and processes that legitimise ‘maverick’ behaviour – those who show they are legitimately engaged in seeking creative and innovative ways of doing things.

Before you embark on your journey towards innovation and growth, ask yourself whether you are trying to do it all yourself. Ensure you truly believe innovation is the key to growth. Be clear about the purpose of your organisation, and embrace diversity within it. Above all, be supportive of the practices in place – protect all attempts in achieving innovation and growth by providing air-cover for your people.




1 Comment
  1. Congratulations Arch. You totally deesrve to be featured in design magazines and stand apart from the proliferation of “design blogs” one sees these days.

Leave a Reply