Leading innovation: Think holistically (week 12)

innovation leadership culture think holisticallyTo deal with accelerating change, effective leaders are modifying the ways they inspire innovation and transformation. This week we look at innovation and creating a culture that thinks holistically.

Week 12: Think holistically

Traditional leadership:

Traditional leadership traditionally has focused on the individual business unit you lead for framing problems, building a vision, and setting and implementing strategy.

A fresh approach:

In the new era, innovation requires leaders to move thinking from the unit to the “big picture” or enterprise perspective. This means that innovation leadership must ask all members of a group to consider the whole problem rather than focusing on or trying to optimize one part.This requires framing the problem from multiple stakeholder points of view. If you don’t do this, you risk missing possible solutions that at first may seem mutually exclusive. That’s because the best innovation solution is often one that combines disparate approaches which can only be uncovered by framing a problem through a multi-faceted lens.

Bring this approach to life:

  • Think of the whole. Instill a deep sense of purpose and shared values in the work of the enterprise that cascades throughout all units. This helps develop a sense of responsibility and accountability for the success of the enterprise.
  • Think cross-functional. Help your teams become enterprise-minded by reassigning employees to a variety of posts spanning boundaries, units, and functions, with stretch assignments that will expand their worldview and know-how into an integrated organizational capability. The earlier in one’s career the better.
    • Encourage people across disciplines and areas to work together on solving problems as a way to uncover dependencies and/or to mitigate risk or increase success.
  • Customer Focus. Recognize that your customers want integrated solutions not just products, so encourage your teams to share resources and collaborate efficiently across functions, geographies, and other boundaries leading to great customer solutions that bolster the enterprise.
  • Work in Groups. Help build a strong sense of community by developing peer-learning opportunities that take on business challenges as a group and formal leadership training on topics such as influencing without authority and managing global matrices.
  • Search for Patterns. Look for patterns and connections across organizations, industries, and sectors, and encourage others to do so.
  • Consider Impacts. Encourage evaluation of how key decisions or practices will reverberate throughout the organization and who will be impacted in what ways.

Next week:  Instill an innovation mindset

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Linda Hill authors Harvard Business School Working Knowledge series on ‘Leading in the Digital Era’

RESEARCH REVEALS CRITICAL LINK BETWEEN Digital transformation AND innovation

A 3-part series

For their break-through, award-winning book in 2014, Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation, Linda Hill and her co-authors leveraged 30 years of research to discover how some organizations are able to innovate again and again. They cracked the code to help leaders everywhere gain essential insights into how to help make innovation happen within their organizations.

But since then, according to Dr. Hill, they’ve discovered something that’s been holding some organizations back – how well their organization has adapted to the digital transformation. That’s led to a new stream of research through a series of global roundtables and surveys with hundreds of leaders around the world: What does it take to lead in the digital era?

In the video below, Dr. Hill explains the critical link between digital transformation and innovation – both require a new kind of leadership.

In the following 3-part series for Working Knowledge, a publication from Harvard Business School, Dr. Hill and colleagues Ann Le Cam, Sunand Menon, and Emily Tedards reveal their latest findings on leadership in the digital era:
  1. Where Can Digital Transformation Take You? Insights from 1,700 Leaders Digital transformation seems like a journey without end, but many companies are forging ahead. Linda Hill and colleagues reveal 6 qualities that set digitally mature organizations apart.
  2. Digital Transformation: A New Roadmap for Success Is your company reaping the rewards of digital transformation yet? Linda Hill and colleagues offer 7 guiding principles for transformations at any stage—nascent, progressing, or stalled.
  3. Curiosity, Not Coding: 6 Skills Leaders Need in the Digital Age Transforming an organization starts with transforming its leaders. Data from 1,700 executives by Linda Hill and colleagues reveals the most important skills and traits leaders need now.
About the authors: Linda Hill, a founding partner at Paradox Strategies, is also the Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Business Administration and faculty chair of the Leadership Initiative at Harvard Business School. Ann Le Cam is senior vice president of global talent and animation production at Weta Digital. Sunand Menon is chief product officer of RANE, a risk intelligence company. Emily Tedards is a research associate at HBS.

Introducing The Collective Genius Simulation:
A learning journey for leading innovation develop the leadership style to foster the culture and capabilities that can unleash innovation in your organization.

Use the form below if you’d like to schedule a free preview!