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Innovation is too important to be left to chance. It requires leadership and management. The leader has to set the vision for innovation, build a culture that supports innovation and put in place the processes and resources to enable innovation.
I give workshops on lateral thinking, creativity, innovation and leadership. I often work with CEOs which is where I can have the most influence as they can create or destroy a culture of innovation with their words and actions. I try to give them practical tools and relevant examples to show how they can set the vision, build the culture and establish the processes to embed innovation in their organisations. I sometimes speak to groups of students or schoolchildren about lateral thinking and how to approach problems from new directions; I find these sessions highly enjoyable because the students are so open-minded and enthusiastic.
Sometimes I work with mid-level executives who really want to innovate and try new things. They complain that they are held back by top-level executives who pay lip-service to innovation but actually control and micro-manage. Many leaders still don’t get it – if you want innovation you have to empower people to try new things and be prepared to handle risk and failure along the way.
I have just released a new book, A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing. The book is an example of crowdsourcing. Many leading experts contributed chapters and I edited the book. The challenge is to harness all their different talents to promote the book and the important messages it contains. Do you have any ideas?