How to Fight the Multi-headed Leadership Creature in Organizations


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In a recent blog on Five Factors for Open Innovation, Blaine Childress stated that…” a corporation contains heads of businesses each of whom have different degrees of openness. Thus some business leaders embrace Open Innovation whereas another leader rejects it using another factor as the reason. The quick excuse is intellectual property, shortly followed by money. We must recognize the multi-headed creature that comprises a company.”

Childress got a good point here. It is my experience that different mindsets and approaches to open innovation among the corporate leaders is one of key the reasons that it is difficult to further develop an (open) innovation culture.

My question to you is this: What can corporate innovation teams or others in charge of developing innovation do in such cases?

As a discussion starter, I can offer these observations:

Find the right pockets and start there. As stated by Childress, some leaders do embrace open innovation. This is where you need to start. You need to learn why these people are interested in open innovation and how it can help them reach their goals. If you can find strong alignment between your goals, you are off to a good start.

Communicate better: Yes, I know that I often pull this one out, but corporate innovation teams must become better communicators in a broader sense. Check this post: Great Innovators are Great Communicators

Educate up and down. Although it is more difficult to educate leaders than employees, you can’t skip this part of your training efforts within the organization. You need to experiment and find the ways that work for you. Here corporate innovation teams should involve the HR department.

Get rid of bad excuses. Childress mentioned excuses and I often feel that the excuses being made for not getting involved in open innovation are bad excuses. They are simply covering up ignorance or the fear of trying something new. As a part of your communication efforts, you can focus on such excuses and try to make it clear to all involved why they are bad excuses. You should of course be a bit careful on how you frame this as no one wants to be profiled as being ignorant or afraid.

What can you add?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stefan Lindegaard
Stefan is an author, speaker, facilitator and consultant focusing on open innovation, social media tools and intrapreneurship.


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