Pay attention to leadership innovation.

Innovation potential is being dissipated by entrenched thinking that prevents organisations from breaking out of their comfort zones and embracing new opportunities. Despite this nobody is applying innovation to entrenched thinking. While many CEO's have embraced innovation leadership within their organisations, a lack of leadership innovation may be contributing to underachievement in terms of turning intentions into reality.

A recent Forrester survey of 2000 CEO's in the UK and US revealed that only 20% understand their own digital strategy. With McKinsey predicting that traditional businesses will make up 75% of the value of the internet economy, a critical inhibitor to this growth is likely to be low levels of understanding and commitment at leadership level. 

This comfort zone mentality coupled with an inability to relate the value of innovation to economic growth are not unique to the digital realm. It also affects the rate at which SME's innovate, the high failure rate in start ups, the impact of government strategies, the effectiveness of research funding and the relevance of education programmes.

Innovation potential is being dissipated by leadership derived from well-intentioned organisations that are structured to think and function in a conventional style. Leadership innovation can help these organisations to accommodate more of the nimble thinking of contemporary businesses, consumers and students.

For more thoughts on leadership innovation in the context of digital transformation, see my recent Government News article Technology is the Comfort Zone, Leadership is the Battle Zone.


Kieran O'Hea - Practice Lead, Former Chief Digital Officer, City of Brisbane