Executives and managers routinely talk about the importance of innovation, but turning talk into reality isn’t easy to do.

Nearly everyone who took part in CCL’s 500-person client panel said innovation is a key driver of success (94%), and 77% of their organizations have made attempts to improve innovation. Even so, just 14% are confident about their organization’s ability to drive innovation effectively (CCL Innovation Leadership Survey, 2014).

Why do so many organizations struggle with innovation?

Innovation Efforts Fall Short

In every industry and sector, leaders are faced with the need to achieve growth, define new products and services, enter new markets, create better internal processes and business models, and develop new global strategies. Innovation is routinely touted as the key to future success for today’s companies and as the engine that creates new businesses. Responding to these needs takes tremendous efforts—and many executives, managers, and human resources professionals are unsure how to drive innovation alongside the day-to-day operations.

A survey of 600 senior leaders by Deloitte accurately reflects our work and conversations with clients: Leaders who seek innovation but are unsure how to make it happen can easily undermine innovation goals.

In fact, leadership behavior contributes from 20% to 67% of the climate for creativity in organizations, according to research from creativity researcher Goran Ekvall (personal communication with one of the authors).

We argue that leadership is the most important factor needed to foster creativity and fuel innovation at the individual, team, and organizational levels. Leaders must act in ways that promote and support innovation in their culture.

Upcoming CCL Innovation Leadership Roundtables in EMEA

In these interactive innovation leadership roundtables, Bert De Coutere will explore ways to enhance your thinking and assumptions about innovation. He will address the main question: “What is leading for innovation?” and invite the audience to discuss in groups the reasons that are stopping us getting innovation done in our companies. The opportunity will be given to network in a dynamic way thanks to experiential exercises and to get you some innovation leadership concepts to become an innovation leader. For additional information about our upcoming events, please contact events@ccl.org.


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