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What makes leaders of innovation

Research on innovation leadership competencies suggests that there are about 100 different skill requirements.

Published Fri, Dec 5, 2014 · 09:50 PM

STRONG leadership from senior management is crucial to make innovation work. Competent innovation leaders have the knowledge, skills and abilities to influence employees to develop and implement new or significantly improved products, services or processes that meet or exceed the needs of customers.

Their key tasks include defining and aligning innovation and business strategy, selecting the right innovation portfolios, and to determine the targets for innovation-driven value creation. Despite the large number of books on innovation matters, there is still widespread confusion when it comes to the identification of key innovation leadership competencies.

Innovators such as Reed Hastings who started Netflix, an innovative provider of on-demand Internet streaming media; Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web (which turned 25 this year); and ThumbDrive inventor Henn Tan, chairman and chief executive of Trek 2000 International, are characterised by distinct attributes such as a high achievement drive, empathy, courage, determination and hard work. These are just a few of the critical attributes innovation novices must acquire in order to effectively manage innovation efforts.

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