Leadership for innovation

Vision and strategy development

The task of the management is to develop the vision, which has the following elements:

  • set a direction and a challenge which stimulates people to get committed and motivated,
  • be sufficiently ambitious and not hinder possibilities of the organization
  • set targets which are measure points for progress.

Innovation strategy is the general implementation of the vision.

One of the conditions of establishing and operating an innovation management system effectively is to involve employees in constructing the strategy and implementing it. It is also essential that the developed strategy and the vision be widely disseminated, and made popular among employees by top management. This will most probably be ensured if the final strategy is formed after consulting with employees.

The innovation strategy should define:

  • the organisation's innovation capacity and resources; what innovation is for the organisation and for each area or unit.
  • define criteria that distinguishes innovation from the daily business; what kinds of innovation should be focussed on (e.g. product, service, process, organisation and/or business model innovation);
  • the levels of novelty that should be focussed on (e.g. incremental, radical, and/or disruptive);
  • policy on human resources enabling innovation;
  • policy on intangible assets and intellectual property;
  • policy on collaboration, including sourcing ideas from outside the organisation and collaboration with third parties.


Fostering the innovation culture

Adrian Muresan (31 years old) from Printivate, a Romanian start-up said: “Hire and promote people with diverse skillsets, diverse backgrounds and diverse cultures that believe in big ideas for how your company can change the world. Give them an incubation centre to promote those concepts, and you will see innovations you never considered.”

One of the main tasks of the top management is to foster a culture that supports innovation. Innovation culture is a mindset, and each person within the organisation is responsible for contributing to its growth. This can be supported by top management in the following ways:

  • Supporting ideas: Allow to incentivize the development of new ideas. Create a constructive and positive work environment that encourages the presentation of ideas. Develop recognition and/or incentives systems tor successful ideas. Teach the organisation members how to share and promote their own ideas.
  • Communication: Support open and frank exchange of ideas and solutions amongst employees.
  • Openness and collaboration encouragement: Cooperation across different internal and external stakeholders is essential for innovation. An innovation friendly organisation encourages collaboration, builds mutual respect and provides means for communication.
  • Conflict consciousness: Some level of conflict fosters debate and creativity and is essential to the innovation process. It should be actively managed as a potential source of innovation.
  • Failure tolerance: The organisation should accept that innovation comes with some uncertainty, and thereby some risks. An innovation friendly organisation focuses on the learning aspect of failure and is cautious about negative sanctions.

Organization roles, responsibilities and authorities

Top management should ensure that the responsibilities and authorities for relevant roles are assigned and communicated within the organisation.

Top management should assign the responsibility and authority for ensuring that the IMS conforms to the recommendations of this Technical Specification, and management be informed about the performance of the IMS.

Horea Ratiu, director at MSG Systems – an IT company in Romania – said: “In an international company like ours, strategic planning is made at the headquarter, by the top management. As a consequence of the decision, it must be ensured that the responsibilities and authorities for relevant roles are assigned, communicated, and understood within the local organization. Innovations, licenses and patents in the Romanian division are generally created through a start-up (MGS SU) in order to facilitate innovative ideas to pop up easily and without constrains. After having a clear view of the newly created product, the package is moved back to MSG System, at the R&D department.”

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