For those of you who like to have the key points called out for you, I’d like to highlight the following five takeaways (if you’ve listened to the episode and feel I missed any major points, feel free to add them in the comments):
- Despite the fact that most CEOs list innovation as a top priority, many of their companies (still) treat innovation as a one-off event, rather than as an ongoing process, core competency, or ultimately as a cornerstone of their culture. This results in lots of talk, little action, and even littler value for the company or its customers. (More on making innovation a core capability here; and my views on overcoming the innovation hurdles that trip-up so many corporations here).
- Innovation must be tied strategy and rooted in business objectives. The same goes for digital transformation. Any innovation or transformation program built around pie-in-the-sky thinking is destined to fail. Further, while innovation and digital transformation aren’t necessarily one and the same, in 2013 we do need to recognize that the two are inextricably linked. Dabbling with technology doesn’t necessarily constitute innovation, but just about every innovation will be either digital-centric or digital-enabled.
- Strong, actively involved leadership is an essential condition for successful innovation or digital transformation. It’s not enough to anoint a chief innovation officer or chief digital officer. The CEO herself, along with other key C-suite executives must adopt an innovation mindset; every person in the organization must be given permission to innovate (and by association, permission to fail). This will force organizations to rethink team structure, individual roles and responsibilities, reward systems, and more. The goal is to make innovation or transformation a corporate and cultural imperative.
- Among the challenges leaders will face in developing an innovation or digital leadership mindset (erm, Myndset) lies the fact that, where the 20th century favored and rewarded left brain thinking, the 21st century will favor and reward right brain thinking. Creativity will be (or must become) a core competency for successful digital and innovation leaders.
- Even where the fundamentals of leadership do not change, the tools by which we exercise leadership and influence those around us do. Minter asked whether I felt CEOs should be on social media. The more important matter is that CEOs must have (at least) a baseline digital literacy and be mindful of how their digital footprint can be applied to achieve their personal and professional objectives.
If you enjoyed this podcast, visit Minter’s site to find earlier episodes (80 of them, in total — you can also subscribe via iTunes, of course), read his blog, and learn more about the work he does through his consultancy The Myndset.