100 Conversations · Desk Notes · Innovation & Creativity · Strange Geometries

Leadership and innovation: what does it take?

I’m going to narrow the scope of my reply to this question, Leadership and innovation: what does it take? to the realm that I know best. B2B operations. Small scale and low-key, not with bajillions of parts moving all the time which is a completely different mob of questions that will come up, from the original one.

As a trained engineer, I like to break things down into units that we can take on, one by one. Calculate the way towards the solution. As a designer, I like to focus really tightly on that massive question, ‘What is the problem we want to solve?’ Okay. So when you know that, you can get going taking steps to find out.

Now. The answer to what does it take on the part of leadership is not who is the __est, fill in the blank, as you like. It’s what question are we trying to solve, here, and who wants to be ready to ask that question? I think a lot of people in business leadership positions want to pretend like they know already (or that you shouldn’t be asking such petty things). I mean. You see it. Allllll the time. But what does that get you?


Never moving past Step 1 looks like this

It gets you to Step 1. And not anywhere near 1034, which is where you really want to be, for true breakthroughs. Innovations can’t happen if people aren’t allowed to move around and play a lot. And then you fall, tinker, manage to figure out something else, and boom, step by step by step by … you see what I mean…. and then you make something truly interesting. But. A lot of people don’t want to go past Step 1.

They think it’s nuts, maybe, that anyone would ask, ‘Okay, but what other problems might we ask about? What else is there? Can we look around a bit?’ Maybe take a week to think it over. Take two weeks. Wow. Who has that kind of time, some people say.

I know who. The people who have what it takes.

What are you doing to move the ball past the beginning of the football field? How are you creating a culture of innovation that will allow people to dream big, like really big, and get to the moon and back? I mean. Why not. Ask this, anyway, if you start to get some magic tinkling feelings that have stirred up something you have not thought of in a long time, then we’re on our way to somewhere. That matters.

Stuck at the beginning stage? It’s common. Get unstuck when you work with me, here at Design Kompany. We will go through the brand strategy process. We will think it out, together. Some testimonials are here. B2B, small scale, let’s go.

S P A C E publishes weekly. Membership information is at http://gumroad.com/designkompany/membership


Image source: MIT