The 8 Things Your Innovation Leader Should Bring To Your Organization S13 Ep18

This is for CxO's or those who want to eventually be a CxO. How are you thinking about innovation within your organization? What are you doing to ensure that you have the right innovation leader in place?

Why Is Innovation Important?

A recent McKinsey & Company surveyed more than 2,000 executives and asked how important is innovation to them. Not surprisingly, +80% responded that innovation was extremely or very important to their companies' growth.

If that wasn't convincing, The Boston Consulting Group found that nearly 80% of executives put innovation as one of the top 3 priorities for their companies, and more than 20% made it the single top priority.


Research has shown that consistently innovative companies hold 6 times the market share and make 3 times the profit than the average in their industry.

So – what things should your innovation leaders be able to bring to your organization?

The 8 Things Your Innovation Leader Should Bring To Your Organization

#1 – They Bring Experience: They've lived the front line of taking an idea and turning it into a success. Having a failure under the belt is a big plus. Consultants are not experienced. While they can help you understand the theory and maybe implement a process, they do not bring the experiences you need for innovation success.

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#2 – Build A Culture For Innovation: Building and extending a culture for innovation is critical to an organizations success. If the culture is not aligned with innovation, the innovation leader needs to have the skills to do the hard work of re-building the culture.

#3 People: Innovation leaders understand that innovation is about people. It's human ingenuity that sparks that ideas that transform organizations. At the same time — innovation DOES NOT happen from a single team and the role of the innovation leader is to help other leaders in the organization succeed when it comes to innovation.

#4 Executive Presence: The innovation leader must have the executive presence and ability to communicate at the most senior levels within the organization. Their role is to act as translator. They translate innovation so that executives see and understand the what and the why. They also translate executive speak so that the innovators understand what the innovation objectives are.

#5 Great Ideation Facilitator: The innovation leader knows how to create the right BHAG (Bold Harry Audacious Goal). This is what enables teams to create ideas that become game-changing innovations. The innovation leader has a proven ability to use team diversity (much broader than the HR definition of diversity) for generating better ideas.

#6 Innovation Metrics: The innovation leader has a proven track record of creating, measuring and delivering against innovation metrics. They know how to define innovation metrics tailored to the organization.  They commit and take responsibility to deliver against the metrics even though they are beyond their direct control.

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#7 Coach and Mentor: The innovation leader understand the difference between coach and mentor and knows when to apply each. A coach provides specific instruction regarding how to improve your performance. A mentor becomes more of a trusted adviser in areas that can cross personal and professional lines.

#8 Great Collaborators: Collaboration is fundamental to innovation success and great innovation leaders model collaboration. NIH (Not Invented Here) doesn't belong inside ANY organization just as fighting over credit is NOT collaboration. Innovation leaders are focused on getting the best out of others and not worrying about who gets credit in the end.


While I started off addressing this show to CxO's its a good scorecard for those of you who want to become innovation leaders insider your own organization.

So how would score yourself against each of the 8 items??

Don't sweat it. No one has all eight. There are a few items on the list that I need to work on myself.

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