Leadership Agility & Innovation in Digital Era
In this digital era, being agile and keep innovating in your business is absolutely critical to sustain your competitive edge.
If you are a business leader or senior management, you should be the one who has the vision and insight about the business’s challenge and opportunities, and pick the best possible strategy to growth your business.
Thinking ahead & open minded
To remain agile, one important quality in leadership is keep the mind open to new ideas and always thinking ahead of competition in discovering new challenges and opportunities. Leadership need to encourage entrepreneur mindset and culture, and willing to step outside of the comfort zone and learn and try new things.
In traditional business practice, managers are trained to be an expert in one specific discipline and subject; while this model drive efficiency in large scale operation, they are NOT designed for agility and innovation.
Being an experienced manager in a specific discipline is very important for traditional business model, however, it also dis-courage thinking out of the box and risk-taking, especially when the manger is working on the same role for a long period of time. They might afraid of making mistake and loss face (and the job) if try something new and fail. Some mangers might lost the interest and ability to innovate all together due to lack of capability and ambition to do greater.
We can blame the lack of agility and innovation in a business to the staffs, where they are just play by the book and culture created by the leadership. And this is the responsibility and strategic choice of business leaders to create and nurture the entrepreneurship capability and culture for their business, if they agree agility and innovation is an important practice to their business success.
Identify & nurture innovative talents
Building an entrepreneurial culture to drive innovation and breakthrough business opportunity require a very different leadership mindset and talent nurture processed .
One critical quality in innovative & entrepreneurial talent is the natural drive to keep learning, ambition to create better values, willingness to take manageable risk, creative & visionary thinking, business analysis & insight discovery capability.
The challenge is that these qualities are very difficult to train in traditional organisation and function specific roles, and the personality and nature drive for learning & creative thinking of the talent might be more important than skill sets and function specific experience.
How to identify entrepreneurial leadership?
I was often ask why I managed to work across different industry and disciplines with top rated performance. The answer is the natural passion for innovation and the guts to take new challenges outside of comfort zone, plus a lot of hard work and some lucks.
When you have a instinct desire to drive innovation and better results in whatever you do, you realise you need to think and do a lot more than what you have learn and assigned to, and you known the more you experience and learn from different industry and discipline, the better you can innovate with various model of thinking and analysis.
While traditional organisation will still need functional expertise who doing the same job forever; for leadership agility and innovation roles that could take the business into new growth journey, we need to look for the hidden entrepreneurial drive and learning capabilities in the talent.
Fall in love with digital & new technology
Talking about leadership agility and innovation nowadays, it will be impossible to ignore the influence of digital technology, and the capability of understanding the possibility and impact of these technology will determine the quality of business decisions to grasp the new opportunities.
There is no better way to learn about these new technology by spend time to immerse and try them out. That’s why I think it is worthy for me to invest time to learn and try out various social media platforms, marketing and analytic tools, web programming, content creation strategy and best practice around the worlds.
There are also new business models and e-commerce platforms arise with new technology in digital, as well as other mobile and fabrication technology. As agile leader and innovation entrepreneur, you must develop a clear sense of these trends and impact in customer and market dynamics, although they might not all have a direct relationship to your current business, but you will be surprise of the indirect impacts soon enough.
New Era of business model and value creation innovation
As a researcher and practitioner in creative & business, I believe there is no better time for business leaders to innovate in new business models and value creation strategy and operation, which I call holistic business innovation.
There is no more guarantee of success with your traditional proven model, and there are many miserable failure form traditional business giants as a result of lack of leadership agility. What have you done to make sure your organisation remain competitive in this rapid changing landscape?