Strong Leaders in the Context of Innovation


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I have often said that Apple is a bad example for learning on innovation because it is a very unique company (at least it was during the leadership of Steve Jobs).

Since it was/is such a unique company, we should be careful on their innovation moves as they would be difficult to apply to a “normal” company. Well, I still believe there is some truth to this, but a recent lunch with Roberto Verganti and others made me re-think my position here.

We can of course always learn from unique companies and one thing that really stands out from Apple is that you a need a strong leader to make things happen.

In the context of innovation, a strong leader must be able to gather input from many different pools of thoughts and interests and then set the direction for the company. It takes a visionary leader to develop a visionary company that makes an inpact in our world.

A strong leader also understands that the company itself cannot change the world. Once the direction has been set, it must be also be humble enough to bring in external partners and thus”democratize” innovation to some extent. This is where “old-school” strong leaders often fail.

I have often said and written that we need a more holistic approach to innovation (go beyond products and technologies while also innovating on the innovation process itself) and with this we also have a need for more holistic leaders.

I believe they are now starting to pop up as as this happens, we can continue to appreciate a lesson given by Apple and Job. It is that innovative companies require strong leadership.

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.


  1. Yes a change for the better and for the common good is all we need. A positive approach to innovation could help a lot and making use of it could do wonders.


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