Chapter Six. Creating the Conditions for Success: Best Practices in Leading for Innovation

Michael D. MumfordDawn L. EubanksStephen T. Murphy

Few phenomena have as much impact on our lives, and our world, as innovation—the translation of new ideas into useful products—and creativity—the basis for initial generation of these new ideas.[1] Innovation in its many varied forms is responsible for the drugs that have extended human life, the information technology systems that allow us to do our work, and the entertainment we pursue in our leisure hours.[2] Not only is innovation a profound influence on our lives, as we move into the twenty-first century; it has become clear that innovation will be the major engine of economic growth.[3] Recognizing the fundamental importance of innovation, organizations (businesses, nonprofit, and governmental organizations) have begun to adapt new forms—forms expressly intended to encourage innovation.[4]

These changes—changes involved in moving from a manufacturing to an idea production economy—pose a fundamental question for students of leadership. What is required of leaders in an idea production enterprise? At this juncture, many answers to this question have been proposed—yet none really seems to satisfy. The confusion that surrounds this question is aptly illustrated in the various training interventions that have been used to prepare leaders to manage innovative product development efforts. In a review of this literature, one finds ...

Get The Practice of Leadership: Developing the Next Generation of Leaders now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.