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Innovation Demands a Holistic Perspective

With just a few BlogJam posts, we have developed a very interesting conversation about the true nature of innovation: is it primarily about the organization or primarily about the individual? The short answer is yes! The work of innovation requires leaders to adopt a holistic perspective, one that balances the freedom necessary to develop new ideas with the discipline required to bring the most promising of those ideas to the marketplace.

With just a few BlogJam posts, we have developed a very interesting conversation about the true nature of innovation: is it primarily about the organization or primarily about the individual? The short answer is yes! The work of innovation requires leaders to adopt a holistic perspective, one that balances the freedom necessary to develop new ideas with the discipline required to bring the most promising of those ideas to the marketplace.

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Gautam is correct that many organizations today still “stick to the bureaucratic ways of the mid 20th century when everything else seems to have changed.” Roger is correct in his observation:

Companies that are serious about innovation must focus themselves around the needs of the future. They must tie the organization to the source of innovation and structure the company such that they are extracting the maximum value from innovation as quickly as possible.

And Jim is correct that individuals who have developed “the habit of innovation” make an essential contribution to building the organization’s capacity for innovation. But it isn’t just the wild-eyed, right-brain creative types who have a role to play in the pursuit of innovation. Everybody in the organization has something unique to contribute to building an understanding of the future, anticipating the unmet or unforeseen need and delivering transformative value to customers. To ensure those efforts achieve maximum effect, leaders must actively orchestrate the organization’s strategic, technological, cultural, intellectual and financial contexts with the goal of innovation in mind. Although this is work that never ends, it is through this kind of innovation leadership that we find the necessary balance of freedom and discipline.

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