|  08.11.2013

Innovating for growth - Seven key enablers to leadership mindset in strategic innovation

Innovation is not a strategy – it’s a way of being. For strategic innovation to happen you need to align leadership mindset, organizational culture and new approaches to evaluation and measurement.

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EY Romania




External factors, such as technology, regulation, macroeconomic trends and demographic shifts, are increasing complexity and diversifying opportunity. Against such a backdrop, the challenge for organizations of all types is to maintain their relevance in a changing environment. Part of the solution is to capture a variety of ideas and different ways of thinking from as many different sources as possible in order to enrich the DNA of the organization – but this can only be achieved through the right leadership mindset.


Our research shows a widespread consensus that leadership mindset is one of the key enablers of strategic innovation. It is directly linked to an organizational culture that nurtures, guides and supports innovative thinking and practices. Only with the support of the business leader can hierarchical barriers be broken down, career risks be taken and important decisions accepted by those implementing change.


An innovation culture


Contributing to innovative thinking and strategic discussion no longer requires the right job title. Company leaders need to nurture an organizational culture that enables the sharing and combining of ideas across the organization. However, employees working on new products or services need to know that they have the backing of the organization when engaging in new forms of commercial risk. This involves evaluating and measuring return on investment in new ways, using different key performance indicators that reflect longer-term strategic objectives.


Organizational culture


Organizations at the forefront of innovation turn cultural differences to their advantage. Our research participants concentrate on seven key elements: social networks, cross-functional teams, organization and governance, people and skills, evaluation and measurement, communication, and continuity of funding.


1. Social networks


Most social networks are ideas broadcast channels and asking for solution environment. They give reward and recognition for those participating. It is all based on social capital idea: people forming relationships, sharing their thoughts and seeding for something new to grow. To make the most of social networks organizations should:

► Learn from experience;

► Collaborate with people from different backgrounds.


2. Cross-functional teams


Teams that comprise people from various departments are valued both locally and globally. For a better cross-functional representation in the local markets, headquarters delegate and empower their local teams. For example, based on cross-functional insights, the corporate development team evaluates the potential embedded in any local company for investment or acquisition by other part of the enterprise.


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