Innovation Leadership: Key to Success for Any organization


Innovation leadership is the game of the new era. As we all are aware that the world is becoming a global village with advanced technology. There is a greater need to toss out the conventional leadership methods of authority and bureaucracy. It is time to bring in leaders with the business acumen and power to creatively make the decision for organizational success. In simple words, Innovation leadership is an effort by the leaders of an organization to fulfill the mission and vision of the company by implementing innovative ideas, investing in research and development, and create products/services which give them a competitive edge. The term was first coined by Dr. David Gliddon (2006) who presented a model for leadership development through the process of innovation.

In this article, we will discuss some of the most important aspects of innovation leadership which are vital to the success of a company.

Importance of Innovation Leadership

The importance of innovation leadership is manifold. If it is done correctly, it has implications all around the world and can also cater to the cultural and organizational difference at any level. Some of the points highlighting success factors due to giving importance to innovation leadership are:

Cultivating strategic fit

An innovative leader is fully capable of producing an outcome which suits the agenda of the organization. Innovative leaders will produce better outcomes with even fewer resources at their disposal in order to match the competitive requirements of the external world. Recent studies have produced significant results of implementing innovation leadership in enhancing the environment, meeting economic needs and improving the quality of products and services produced.

Enhancing Performance

Innovation leadership is all about enabling the employees to produce the best of their results. A lot of organizations these days are the victims of an autocratic culture where employees are not valued for their out of the box ideas or they are not given resources to implement it. In the end, the retention rates are higher as people switch their jobs to work for a more open-minded employer. So, the followers go into the footstep of their leaders. If they are given enough resources and backing, they will strive hard to increase their performance to be the star employee. In that way, you will have many stars shining in the sky of your company.

Fostering Creativity

Innovation is all about creativity. Innovative ideas are encourage to meet the mission and vision of the organization.  A leader who knows the value of providing a platform to the employees giving creative ideas ends up with a competitive advantage or a new innovative product/service which is skyrocketing in the profits of the company.

Employee Engagement and Motivation

An employee who has a listening ear from the upper management and motivation to implement his idea to the fullest. Employee engagement is the heart of employee satisfaction and a leader with an innovative leadership style is well aware of the fact that happy employees are the most productive ones.

Traits of Innovative Leader

Legrenzi (2006) describes an innovative leader is:

  1. An excellent communicator and makes sure that his message is conveye properly to the audiences.
  2. Organized in his day to day activities as well as making strategic decisions
  3. Great at problem-solving and concluding an optimal elucidation for all the parties involved
  4. Takes calculated risks which can benefit the organization
  5. Ethical and keeps a strict check on accountability for each and everyone in the organization
  6. Adaptable to the changing internal and external environment, whether its succession planning, new legislation or implementing redundancy policy.
  7. Knows the art of politics and diplomacy to practice with external or internal stakeholders
  8. Initiative and does not bend if he believes something is not right
  9. Has the  relative expertise to work in an organizational setting focused on innovation and creativity
  10. Is comfortable to shut down a project. Which has no prospects for gaining profits and using unnecessary resources of the organization


Real-life Examples of Innovative Leadership

Real life examples of innovation, leadership are google. Who allows their employees to work on the project of their choice once in a week. 3M uses the idea of innovation by giving ownership of the project to employees and grants them 15% of their time to use in their favorite area of research. Similarly, ZAPPOS employees are allowed to have fun and communicate causally in the impromptu office meeting. They can also adjust and decorate their cabins according to their wishes. Studies have proved that all of these initiatives have a significant positive impact on not only the performance of the employees but boosts profits of the organizations as well.


Innovate Leadership is imperative in the coming years as it will be the force striving towards a greater future for humanity by either advanced technology, progressive organizational culture or competite in the global market.


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