The Innovation Inhibitor

December 12, 2013 — 1 Comment

This week, after challenging a client to take a different perspective on organizational change, I was reflecting on a commentary I heard from Gary Hamel on how Leadership has not fundamentally changed in over 100 years.  In short, he is absolutely right. We may move things around, make them look a little different, or phrase them in a different way – but there has been little actual innovation in leadership theory and practice in a very long time. Think about it. When was the last time you did something truly innovative for your business?

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It occurs to me how critical it is that, we, as leaders, begin to think and act  differently. We have the capacity, as leaders, to see business from a completely different perspective, yet we are often hesitant to really leverage the inherent power that is within us to influence meaningful change.  The reality is that in order to move forward, we have to start – we must begin to take steps forward in the right direction. One absolutely essential way that we can move toward bringing innovation back to the forefront is to actively engage the sources that are available to us in order to facilitate new ideas and concepts coming to fruition.

BUT I feel I must warn you – we have a very real and present danger among us: The Innovation Inhibitor.

There is currently an invisible villain that is stealing our not only our ability to innovate, but our opportunity to partner with a valuable resource that could get the flow of leadership innovation moving once again! The Innovation Inhibitor’s power is rooted in the lack of communication and partnership that exists between business and academia – it is currently devouring our potential for innovation. Many years of experience has shown me that business struggles to transform leadership and management theory into reality, and academia struggles in the area of understanding how to develop, at an experiential level, anything new or innovative that can actually be implemented to positively impact business.

The idea that business and academia would actively partner to create an environment where powerful new ideas are created, high potential theories are tested and exciting new thoughts are pushed to their limits is an exciting, uncharted placed to be – yet in today’s workplace it seems to be a novel (and often unwelcome) idea. We must, as leaders, push to disavow the Innovation Inhibitor and bring a new sense of innovation and change to the global business environment.

Because I am absolutely passionate about the need for the integration of theory and practice resulting in innovation (as well as destroying the Innovation Inhibitor once and for all), I would like to introduce you to a concept that I am extremely confident will bring innovation back to the forefront in business. This concept is not new, but it is new to business. I would like to introduce you to Translational – or Bench – Science.

This particular concept comes from medicine, however we need to bring it to business. The term is currently used mainly in the health sciences and refers to translating clinical practice from the medical lab to real people. In essence, the same principles apply to business. We need to translate the management and leadership theories that are developed in academia and apply them to what we know and understand to be real in global business in order to realize innovation. It seems an easy concept, but most people have difficulty in translating theory into application.  However, by employing our relationship skills, along with our inherent understanding of what needs to get done and the determination to see it through – we, as leaders, can develop partnerships with the folks out there developing the theories and turn theory into innovative reality within the context of what we do – global business. The potential theories are tested and exciting new thoughts are pushed to their limits is an exciting, uncharted placed to be – yet in today’s workplace it seems to be a novel (and often unwelcome) idea. We must, as leaders, push to disavow the Innovation Inhibitor and bring a new sense of innovation and change to the global business environment.

If we are to evolve, we need to integrate ourselves as a critical component within the structure of Translational Science in global business. Translational Science is scientific research that is motivated by the need for practical application. Who is more practical than ourselves? We, as leaders, are the Superheroes in this story!

So, are you ready to annihilate the Innovation Inhibitor?

We have got to find ways to bring academia and business together to leverage the best in both for the betterment of the whole. If we don’t, we will never actually move forward. Please engage the discussion and let us how you will engage the challenge of bringing translational science to the business world for the improvement of your organization and the business world. Feel free to contact me at Sheri.Mackey@LuminosityGlobal.com, by visiting my blog at www.SheriMackey.com or stopping by our website at www.LuminosityGlobal.com.

 

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Sheri is The Global Coach, founder of Luminosity Global Consulting Group, Global Executive Coach, Speaker, Writer and Global Business and Cultural Expert.

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