Organizations often do not fully understand the experiences and skills that best serve people in innovation roles, leading to inconsistent hiring practices and capability “blind spots.” They also often lack appropriate recruiting mechanisms to find the right types of people to address capability gaps within the organization, leading to systemic biases that inhibit innovation. Organizations that are successful at attracting and nurturing innovators are explicit about how they support them at every stage of the employment life cycle.
The research shows that inspiring leaders are
made, not born, and organizations must work carefully to ensure that leaders in the most critical positions are empowered to inspire their teams. While there are many traits often attributed to inspiring leaders, there is one that rises to the
top — the most inspirational leaders model the behaviors they expect of their teams. They also clearly communicate innovation priorities to their teams and commit resources to those priorities because they have conviction in those priorities.
A supportive innovation culture helps to reinforce priorities, encourage effective pathways and
ensure healthy portfolios. Developing a community of practice around innovation can be a powerful supplement to formal training programs, and
many organizations have found success in
nurturing these vehicles to disseminate best practices, share stories, manage informal rewards programs (e.g., prizes for interesting ideas, novel customer insights, creative prototypes, projects
that “failed fast,” etc.) and create opportunities
for people to stretch into leadership positions.