From John Blue:
I am working on recommendations for a client on innovation leadership models. I have been thinking about this for a couple weeks and have developed the following guides:
- The model has to be dirt simple to understand.
- The model is for people and about people so the model actions must take that into account.
- Like all models, it will not be perfect. The more resolution (detail) the model must have the harder it will be to change and adapt.
- The model should have no more than seven items. Why? Seven is a magic number in human cognition. The ability to recall and process information seems to be bound by a limit of 7 (+- 2).
With those parameters in mind here is my draft leadership model (7 (+1)):
- Be positive, smile, and have fun. Smile, its infectious. See Social Experiment.
- Build and share ideas. Get ideas out to people, have conversations about them, refine and adjust. Fail faster. Try and learn, try and learn, try and learn. If you are going to be innovative, you are going to fail. Then share and celebrate those failures. Repeat.
- Become more visible. Get on the ground with the people doing the work and developing ideas.
- Recognize and reward peoples' actions and behavior.
- Learn about and practice innovation.
- Look. Listen. Learn. Observe your customers (Don't survey them. Don't watch your competitors. Don't focus group them.). Tap your employees (People that work with you have ideas and ability to act; engage them). Ask questions.
- Be Firm, Fair, and Consistent (used to be "Be steady, consistent, and methodical"). There is no magic bullet, no quick fix, no magic moment so don't create a 'crisis', an 'event', or a 'program'.
While this is at 7 items, some of the items have multiple concepts within them. Can this model be simple (simple=short, easy to consume, not complex) yet not be formulaic? Just doing these seven things, by themselves, will not make innovation happen. There are some complex people stuff in several items.
Here are some research papers and white papers that provide (deeper) thoughts on leadership and innovation.
- The Ten Faces of Innovation, by Tom Kelley.
- The Power of Ordinary Practices, chat with Teresa M. Amabile
- The Way of the Innovation Leader, from New and Improved
- Building Innovative Teams, from New and Improved
- Good to Great article in Fast Company, by Jim Collins
- Thoughts from Susan Lucia Annunzio, author of Contagious Success
- The Business of Innovation, CNBC series.
- Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some. From All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, by Robert Fulghum.
- Five different types of thinking to jolt creativity, by Chris Penn, co-founder of PodCamp.