Growing a culture of innovation in organisations

In this edition we focus on the topic of innovation and how leaders foster a culture of innovation in organisations.

Innovation: Does leadership make a difference?

Most people would answer yes to the question and research shows that leadership does make a difference. But how do leaders make innovation an integral part of their organisation? First, leaders need to recognise that innovation is a process, not a one-off project, department or training programme. At the start of the process is idea generation, which requires an environment where experimentation, openness and risk-taking is encouraged (lots of small risks rather than single huge risks). The leader’s role here is to create the right environment for ideas to flourish. However, in order to take the idea to the commercialisation stage, a different leadership style is needed; a more conventional operational approach.

In any organisation there may be many projects at different stages of the innovation process and a leader needs to be able to adapt their style to suit. This is another case where leaders need a broad range of leadership styles and the ability to recognise what is needed and when.

We explore the question in more detail

How does Otis push for innovation?

Adam Bryant recently interviewed the president of Otis Elevator Company, Pedro Baranda about his leadership style including how he integrates a culture of innovation. Some of the interesting points from the interview included:

In selecting where to focus their innovation efforts, the company harnesses its network of consultants, architects, customers and contractors to learn where future demand for its products might lead.

Being a global company with 62,000 employees, Baranda relies on the diversity of the team as one of the catalysts for creativity.

There is a tolerance of failure thus encouraging the team to take calculated risks.

To read the full interview, click through to the New York Times website Read more ».

The Ripple Effect of Coaching

The latest research from the University of Sydney Coaching Psychology Unit shows that coaching has a positive effect within an organisation, beyond those individuals who are receiving the coaching. This innovative research study considered the effects not only at the level of the coached individuals but also at the relational and organisational levels.

The study methodology comprised eight one-to-one coaching sessions over a four to five month period with 20 leaders in an academic organisation. The wider network analysis involved 102 participants. The results showed a significant increase in the psychological wellbeing, goal attainment and transformational leadership qualities of the coached participants, which supports earlier research, but how were others in the organisation affected? The study concluded that the more positively a coached individual rated their communication and their closeness with their people, the more likely they were themselves to be rated as a transformational leader, and the more likely their people would experience improvements in psychological wellbeing.

This adds to the research that indicates the effectiveness of executive coaching and is the first to study the broader effects on others in the organisation. The full research paper can be downloaded from our website here

Deloitte and Madston Black seminar series

We launch the second series of breakfast seminars on 14 August with the topic, “The relationship between innovation and leadership”. The session will be led by Eduardo Chakarian, who is director at Monitor Deloitte and is a subject matter expert on innovation in organisations. He will share the highlights of an innovation survey conducted in Singapore, and provide different approaches and case studies on how innovative leaders have overcome business challenges. Senior HR professionals are invited to join us for what should be a stimulating presentation and discussion.

Other events are scheduled for October and December 2013, and February 2014. For a list of topics and to register, please click through to the web page Read more ».