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Leadership and Innovation Management

Innovation management plays an important role in the innovation process. How do you describe the role of leadership in managing innovation? If you were a leader of an organization, what steps would you take to create an effective innovation management system? What types of challenges do you think you would run into when trying to create the management system?

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Peter Drucker (1985) said that innovation is real work and it can, and should, be managed like any other corporate function. He said that the very foundation of entrepreneurship is the practice of systematic innovation. Innovation is not only about new products and services. It also involves new strategies and processes such breaking a manufacturing bottleneck, new operations that add speed or cut costs, and fresh approaches to marketing.

A leader has the power to greatly enhance or to completely drain, their team's ability to think creatively. A Leader can focus efforts in these areas, in order to drive innovation in his or her organization (Ross, 2007):

1. Establish clear goals and let people reach them in their own way: The people should not be told explicitly what route to take to reach the end point. A good leader can even step aside and let people work creatively to achieve goals.
2. Monitor their work at a distance: Micro managing squashes self-confidence and motivation. This kills their creativity and innovativeness. Leaders should be careful what they say. Dismissing an idea could dampen creativity. Instead, they should coach their subordinates and help them to evolve it further. Employees should be also given credit for their own work. Both verbal rewards as well as rewards with value are both important.
3. Facilitate your team's work: This can be done by selling their work to others in the organization, gathering needed information for them, removing obstacles and so on. This influences the quality and the speed of work. Research shows that teams that had access to information, resources and equipment, because of their leader, did much better than teams that did not.
4. Create fruitful idea generation and idea evaluation processes: Puccio, in the book he co-authored (Murdock, Puccio, & Mance, 2006), suggests this model for Leaders to help generate and evaluate ideas:
- Separate idea generations from idea evaluation: If these are together, often good ideas are discarded prematurely. - Aim for quantity during the idea generation process: When there are more ideas to choose from, this increases the likelihood of a great idea.
- Seek connections: Piggybacking on other ideas increases the likelihood of obtaining creative responses. This also encourages cross fertilization of ideas.
Puccio also suggests that both intuition and critical thinking should go into evaluating ideas. In terms of evaluation, he recommends applying affirmative judgment and the checking of objectives. Both ...

Solution Summary

This response outlines the role of the leader in innovation management.