Leadership and Innovation
‘Is leadership important in the process of innovation?’
To what degree? How? Why?
University of Latvia
Table of content
Defining the problem
Leadership and innovation
In this written paper, I deal with the topic ‘Leadership and Innovation’. The main questions are:
* Is leadership important in the process of innovation?
* To what degree?
Defining the problem
Right now, we find ourselves in the ‘Age of Knowledge’. In this age, power and control happen to be approved via ideas, individuality and creativity. Information and education are our primary commodities. It produces knowledge and technological innovations as the key goods in these times. In many organizations innovative work is something special, and very often running outside the routine business processes. But innovation activities should go into ‘flesh and blood’ of organizations, and thereby achieving real breakthroughs in the market. But not only geniuses can produce real progress or innovations. In the past, we found out that innovation have very often been an achievement of team, which were led by creative leaders.
According to Jim Selman, innovation means ‘intentionally ‘bringing into existence’ something new that can be sustained and repeated and which has some value or utility’. For Selman, innovation is not just change, but as change can be simply seen as a random event or accident, this definition is not concrete enough. For Selman, innovation is something practical, tools or processes which helps us to accomplish something specific. Innovation can be the accomplishment of some sustainable change whether large or small, continuous or breakthrough. Leadership and innovation
To reach significant change, leadership is necessary. But in the long term, passion for change seems to be better than control by the leaders. Good leadership also means, there should be a balance of strict and laissez-faire management, depending on the situation and circumstances. Selman considers innovating as a ‘primary element in leadership’. The goal for leaders is always to reach a breakthrough, as leadership aims to break with the status quo. Another way to distinction of leaders and innovators is that leaders deal with relationships between other people. Selman tries to define our ‘relationship with change’. He claims that there is a relationship to circumstances and change, and the way we deal with these circumstances are defined, as they ‘become the foundation for our being leaders and opens or closes possibilities and opportunities for innovating’. Selman distinguished six different ways to relate circumstances and changes: Resistance
Opposition to circumstance is a very common way to react to change. There are many different ways to show that. You can disagree with changes, or just slyly agree with it. The most drastic proceed is sabotaging the new policies. All ways of resistance can be seen a very counter-innovative. A negative attitude towards changes will lead to stagnation and, even worse, to resignation for the employees who want to make innovation. Concerning leadership, the fixing of status quo is the most dominant goal. This very negative approach can be seen as very ineffective. Coping
Coping can be seen, in opposite to resistance, as a positive reaction to new circumstances. Energy for dealing with new situations is used for problem solving. But this also explains the situation as overcoming problems created by others. Innovation itself is not seen as something everybody wants to accomplish. When you just cope with new circumstances, it is only a reaction, but not really positive approach....
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