Shirley Joann Robertson
Grand Canyon University – LDR-805
November 5, 2014
Innovation and the Leader In an ever changing world, highly competitive markets and challenging economic conditions, it is crucial for leaders to create an environment in which innovation will thrive; one in which employees are encouraged to produce creative ideas, products, services, and solutions. Serving in an integral and critical role, leaders are well positioned to influence all types of innovation efforts and activities, and at all levels of the organization. Their active engagement in these efforts has the potential to yield positive financial and operational short-term and long-term results, not only for survival, but growth beyond their expectations (Friedrich, Mumford, Vessey, Beeler, & Eubanks, 2010).
Identifying and Harnessing Emerging Trends The effective and successful leader will approach the innovation process as an opportunity to differentiate their organization from all others. Fully understanding that the competitive environment is flush with a continual infusion of new ideas, products and services, as well as new and improved internal processes, leaders as well must be innovative in their approach to innovation. Identifying emerging trends in innovation and then harnessing the power of it to achieve competitive advantage is one of the first steps for leaders to take in differentiating their organization from all others. Trends continue to emerge such as using open innovation models that use internal and external knowledge to hasten internal innovation, or that use external avenues to markets for their own internal knowledge. Various versions of open innovation models should be considered by leaders, two of which are complementary of one another; inbound open innovation and outbound open innovation. The inbound open innovation model focuses on establishing collaborative relationships with other organizations for the purpose of comparing competences to improve their own internal performance and innovation. The outbound open model focuses on establishing collaborative relationships with other organizations for the purpose of commercially capitalizing on the other organization’s technical knowledge. By opening up the innovation process to outside organizations, leaders must again be innovative to create an organizational structure that will support models such as these. Transitioning the organization towards open innovation models requires leaders to be innovative and open to an organic-type organizational structure; flexible, adaptive, inclusive of all levels of the organization, collaborative, cohesive, and strategic (Liliana, 2013).
Leveraging Organizational Capabilities At the disposal of the organization are its capabilities; skills, experiences, knowledge, and its resources; human, material, financial, information and intellectual. How these resources are leveraged and exploited for innovation requires leaders to be very innovative, entrepreneurial and strategic. Leaders must; 1) recognize opportunities for innovation, and then integrate the organization’s capabilities and resources with the opportunity to successfully leverage and exploit them for financial gain and competitive advantage, 2) assimilate new knowledge and information with existing organizational knowledge to take advantage of the opportunity for innovation, and 3) recognize the complex relationship between leveraging organizational capabilities and innovation activities; the innovation process of idea gathering and vetting, product or service design, production, and marketing (Withers, Drnewich & Marino, 2009). Through systematic coordination and integration of the organization’s capabilities, leaders have a unique opportunity to create long-term innovative outcomes and sustain competitive advantage for the organization. Because an organization’s capabilities and resources are dynamic, they require…