Leading innovation sounds so sexy when coming from a keynote speaker at an event.Unfortunately, 30,000 feet ideas alone won’t work.
The real work of innovation begins when we start implementing our desire to lead innovation in our respective endeavors. During this process of innovation, it will become vitally important to gain on-going insights from other innovative leaders who can help us shape our innovation efforts. Here are some of the top questions I am currently asking leaders about the way they implement innovation and work through all of the “stuff” that come along for the ride.*
- How does your company define innovation and embed its understanding into its narrative? What are some of the key perspectives and praxis that help to shape a culture of innovation?
- How does the legacy (or past successes) of a company enhance or deter your ability to lead innovation? Do you have any examples of how you’ve built upon your company’s legacy or have had to alter strategy because of its legacy, especially elements that have stifled innovation of late?
- What mindsets, qualities, or talents have you found to characterize top innovators that you most admire and how does one cultivate these attributes? How does one become a linchpin of innovation in their respective industry?
- How do you measure the input, workflow, and output of innovation in your company? What does the process of innovation look like in your company? What are some of the key indicators that you have been successful?
- How does one lead well in relation to the “Disruptive Innovators” & who defines (or redefines) leadership in this dynamic?
- Has innovation affected the way you hire team members? How is innovation integrated into the expectations during the hiring process? Are there specific questions you ask or type of work you like to see?
- How do you deal with a staffer who may be a growing distraction that appears to be working against the culture of innovation being shaped?
- Which metaphor best describes your style of innovation leadership? Do you ever change your leadership style depending on need and/or circumstances? If so, what does that look like and how do you maintain a sense of consistency for your team?
- How do you view “failure” as it relates to innovation? When is it part of the process and when is it unacceptable?
- What is the most important thing an innovative leader could or should do regularly to stay effective and fresh in their work?
Ok, maybe it’s more than 10! Nevertheless, I hope these questions help you shape the way you think about innovation implementation.
*Some of these questions were adapted from input I received from my Facebook friends about questions to ask leaders in general.