Innovation Leadership – so what’s that?

Starting on the 1st August I will take up my position as Director of Innovation Leadership with Drummond International. But what does a Director of Innovation Leadership actually do?

Firstly, it’s important to place the role within the overall values and principles espoused by Norman Drummond throughout his long career.

At risk of simplifying Norman’s work it is fundamentally aimed at helping leaders to establish – for themselves –  a powerful and meaningful connection between their ‘heart’ and their ‘head’ in order to underpin their leadership behaviours, at both a personal and professional level, thereby leading to a more rewarding, effective and meaningful life.

Norman’s work is driven by a deep optimism in the human spirit, as demonstrated through one of his favourite quotations:

“The task of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.” John Buchan

With apologies to John Buchan our work in relation to innovation adopts a similar values based and optimistic perspective and could be paraphrased as follows:

“The task of leadership is not to put innovation into humanity, but to elicit it, for the capacity to innovate  is already there.”

Innovation Leadership has three elements which can be considered separately or in a more integrated manner depending on the requirements:

  1. Supporting Leaders to Innovate
  2. Creating space for Innovation
  3. Generating Innovation

Supporting Leaders to Innovate is geared towards helping Leaders to become more innovative themselves and to counter the barriers, fears and limiting cultures which may have reduced their confidence and capacity to innovate in their personal and professional lives.

Creating Space for Innovation focuses upon innovation within an organisation and assists the leaders, their teams and other members of the community to create the environment which encourages others to innovate, supports and enables the collaborative innovation process; and finally, develops ways in which to translate innovation into habitual and improved practice.

Generating Innovation is where the Innovation Leadership process is used as a catalyst to assist organisations or teams which are ‘stuck’ in order to generate new ideas which can then be translated into effective solutions to long-term, or intractable problems.