Are creative leadership solutions new?

Photo by Sebastien LE DEROUT on Unsplash

While mainstream innovations may be new, the concept of innovation certainly is not. Roger Martin is a former dean of Rotman School of Management, author, and director at a global strategy firm. Martin references a conference he once attended that showed a “slide with a quote about how things are moving so fast, technological advances are happening as never before, etc. It’s the greatest we’ve ever seen in history” (Martin & Euchner, 2012, p. 11). After showing the audience that slide, the speaker questioned the crowd — asking about the source of this quote. Martin shares that the audience believed the quote was relatively new — maybe even from a modern magazine.

In all actuality, it was “from Scientific American. In 1868. And so it’s stuck in my mind that we have to be careful saying how much the world has changed when much of it hasn’t changed at all” (Martin & Euchner, 2012, p. 11).

Innovation and scientific discovery have been critical to development for centuries.

Is strategy enough?

(Beyene, Shi & Wu , 2016)

Merely having a strategy that recognizes innovation is not enough; companies must act on that strategy with leadership activities and management practices to embrace the learning.

“As many as 70–90% of new-product introductions fail in the marketplace; many of these failures are caused by lack of understanding of customer and user needs and values” (Welo, Olsen & Gudem, 2012, p. 1).

The heart of innovation is learning — both at individual and group levels. The innovation process not only requires but demands continuous learning from both an individual and an organizational perspective.

Organizational learning is often completed through a “knowledge creation process largely related to the acquisition, dissemination and interpretation of customer and competitor related information” (Beyene, Shi & Wu , 2016, p. 128).

Note, this process involves experimentation, involves internal and external channels, involves leader guidance, and involves defying strategic objectives as learning will directly share and impact organizational performance.

What is the benefit of creative leadership solutions?

(Beyene, Shi & Wu, 2016) & (Welo, Olsen & Gudem, 2012)

The ability to take insights and create innovative paths has led organizations to surpass global competitors. Innovation is critical. Market conditions require it. Consider the need for a business to survive, to battle competitors, to overcome market conditions, and to exceed customer expectations.

In contemporary times, globalization is a significant topic when it comes to international organizations, political developments, technological advancements, or human rights considerations. With any of these topics, there is an overriding principle.

“We basically do not know what the world of tomorrow will really be like, except that it will be different, more complex, more fast fast-paced, and more culturally diverse…This means that [we] will have to become perpetual learners” (Schein, 2010, p. 365).

What’s a historical example of innovation from a manufacturing firm?

(Beyene, Shi & Wu, 2016) & (Welo, Olsen & Gudem, 2012)

Consider manufacturers. Often a key component associated with the corporate competitive advantage is innovation. And that innovation (that competitive advantage) is crucial to the organization’s survival. The intensity of the competitive marketplace (from both competitors and customers) requires manufacturers to innovate faster and cheaper.

During the first half of the twentieth century, World War II just ended and production processes were undergoing a revitalization in many manufacturing facilities. Specifically, recall that Toyota Motor Corporation was founded in Japan. Toyota was one of the most notable organizations that was able to take enhanced practices and theories from Europe and the United States to create techniques useful in mass production environments. Organizations can learn from this historical example and see that an innovative environment can provide answers to strategies through either technological pushes or market pulls.

How does your organization practice innovation?

Would you and your team benefit from partnering with an Innovation Practitioner? Let us know! We love facilitating innovation. Learn more about our services.

Skidmore Consulting 2020 ©


Beyene, K. T., Shi, C. S., & Wu, W. W. (2016). THE IMPACT OF INNOVATION STRATEGY ON ORGANIZATIONAL LEARNING AND INNOVATION PERFORMANCE: DO FIRM SIZE AND OWNERSHIP TYPE MAKE A DIFFERENCE?. South African Journal Of Industrial Engineering, 27(1), 125–136. doi:10.7166/27–1–1308

Martin, R., & Euchner, J. (2012). Design Thinking. Research Technology Management55(3), 10. doi:10.5437/08956308X5503003

Schein, E. (2010). Organizational Culture and Leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

WELO, T., OLSEN, T. O., & GUDEM, M. (2012). ENHANCING PRODUCT INNOVATION THROUGH A CUSTOMER-CENTERED, LEAN FRAMEWORK. International Journal Of Innovation & Technology Management, 9(6), -1. doi:10.1142/S0219877012500411