Many companies want to be innovative. They launch innovation programs, hackathons, and more. Then they go out and manage as if their company was an assembly line.
They create standardized processes, controls and approvals, hierarchies and reporting structures, meetings about meetings. All of these to refine a process leading in the wrong direction.
How can we lead in a way that leads to real innovation?
First, if your goal is to innovate, but you are taking away any chance to fail, your team will not be able to innovate.
Second, if your goal is to innovate, but you expect ideas to be fully defined with detailed business cases before you allow your team to experiment, then your team will not be able to innovate.
As a leader, if you want an innovative team, you have to accept some mess, some slack, some space to experiment, fail, and learn. Otherwise, you’ll just keep pushing out the same widgets as you always have. Maybe a little faster, but never in a way that will disrupt your industry.