Leadership and Seductive Innovation

Whatever sector, whatever industry you are in, these are challenging times.

It is all hands to the pump to find the right course. And for those fearing their very survival, it is understandable that the search for that new, powerful idea should dominate.

But success will never lie in new technology alone; it is also critical to look in the right direction, not to get waylaid into seemingly seductive solutions.

Look at the business and be honest, are a series of technological innovations likely? And if they are, will they make the impact on your industry that you anticipate?

For service organisations in particular, constant technomania is probably an absolute distraction from the core business. Worse, it will beguile you into believing there is a promised land; that there is a magic bullet that will solve the organisation’s problems.

The techno-fetishists earn their crust by promoting ever whackier and unachievable ideas. New jobs are being created, innovation labs are springing up. Charities are reinventing themselves as solutions agencies for ideas and innovation. And like the emperor's new clothes, everyone nods sagely for fear of being thought old fashioned, blind to the future.

But the future is already around you. Your people are your business and your future. Plumbers, carpenters, accountants, analysts and others are all innovating every day. Everybody is solving problems and yes, innovating, regularly creating new solutions. It is management - routines, procedures, protocols, that stops innovation taking hold and blossoming. Strangled before it sees the light and is replicated more widely.

Let us not over complicate. Innovation is just change. Step change, yes. But just change. So how do you create an organisation where change flourishes and is embraced?

It needs restating. Get the right organisational culture. Leadership that values a diverse workforce, gives people time and space to think, funds new ideas, takes risks, does not blame. Have fun.

So treat your colleagues with respect, involve them in decisions, support them through good and bad. And they will exceed your expectations.