Creativity,Leadership, and Innovation: A Self-Assessment
MYULTIMATE INNOVATIVE LEADER
Whenyou think about innovation, do you think about big technologicaladvances, Silicon Valley’s and businesses with very big researchand innovation budgets? Presumably, most people do (Hemlin et al,2013). However, Richard Branson, author and founder of Virgin Group,believes that even miniature businesses such as popcorn vendors arecapable of coming up with innovations. Richard Branson has provedthat his postulates are correct by setting a precedent forentrepreneurs through his Virgin Group, which was a small businessthat became successful through its team’s innovative spirit whichhe spearheaded.
Outstandingly,Mr. Branson has been at the helm of promoting innovation throughouthis life. In response to global warming, he has attempted to offersrevolutionary and cheaper fuels through the Virgin Fuels. This showshis ability to observe and cultivate new change amid the changingenvironmental conditions to provide more environmental friendlyconsumption procedures. Additionally, Mr. Branson has made severalworld record attempts through his organization. His characteristic ofbeing able to take risks is overwhelming. N 1985, in the spirit ofBlue Riband, Richard Branson, through his “Virgin AtlanticChallenger” attempted to cross the Atlantic Ocean which ended upwith his boat capsizing and being rescued to give up. Unwilling togive up, He succeeded in 1986, beating the world record with twohours in his “Virgin Atlantic Challenger II” and crossed theAtlantic in a hot air balloon the following year through the “VirginAtlantic Flier” (Jackson, 1994).
TheVirgin Group is considered as an organization driven by informationand information due to his ability to associate, listen andcollaborate with team members to engineer innovations. Rather thanbeing stifled by top-level management, the Virgin Group is bottomheavy which has promoted innovation n the organization.
Asan innovator introduces a new idea into the market, it is importantto question that idea. Mr. Branson is very adaptable and flexiblebased on questioning his ideas. He notes that his first innovation, amagazine, became a global business due to his ability to questionwhat the people wanted and adopting proposed changes and innovations.As an innovator, Mr. Branson is very self-confident. Attempting tocross the Atlantic Ocean through hot air balloons was not a very cozyand easy task but Richard Branson believed in his ideas and was infor it. Markedly, Mr. Branson also has the passion to work withpeople and build a strong team. This has been his foundation infostering creativity within The Virgin Group. A number of years ago,Mr. Branson created the Branson Center of Innovation in Johannesburg.This center has fostered sharing of knowledge, expertise and networksbetween approximately 500 entrepreneurs around the world (Shavinina,2006). He says, “You don’t need a big budget for a small businessto innovate, all you need is some ambition and a good idea.”
Mr.Branson has been an expert in relationship-management. As a result hehas focused on keeping employees, franchisees, executives, vendorsand board members all within his scope. He notes that businesses aremost successful when entrepreneurs are able to connect with eachstakeholder as an individual, not just as a transaction or ordernumber. Mr. Branson is also a visionary evangelist who believes incommunicating regularly with stakeholders on behalf of theorganization to demonstrate confidence in the organization. Inaddition, he has been able to develop team work, employee motivationand commitment within the business(De Jong & Den Hartog, 2007).He writes a monthly letter to stakeholders informing them of thefuture plans of Virgin Group and includes home address and telephonefor any suggestions, problems and ideas that may arise.
Innovationis inevitable to developing organizations since it helps grow new andexisting markets, increase stay connected and be at the leading edge(Carmeli et al, 2006). Nonetheless, one needs to develop thedimensions of leadership to effectively foster creativity.
Associating- This is the ability to hook up different ideas, questions and problems from unrelated fields. I would incorporate this in my professional life through involving all stakeholders i.e. employees, managers, executives etc in the innovation processes. This provides greater opportunities for discussions, experimentation and collaborative work in developing of ideas
Questioning- Right questions help get right answers. I will display this by being able to listen and willing to stick my neck out and ask the obvious questions such as “why?” “Why not?” “When?” “What if?” Additionally, developing an inquiring mind would allow me to begin innovating.
Experimenting- Innovation is considered viable after experimenting its benefits and functionality (Dobni, 2008). Outstandingly, the world is the innovation lab for any organization. To achieve this, I would present my ideas to sample such as students to test and measure its viability. This could be fostered by advertising in the target market, providing discounts on the product or even offer the innovative product for free.
Observing- To successfully introduce an innovative product, I would examine the existing phenomena and products. This would give me an opportunity to produce what people want – better! In addition, I would also study the behavioral changes of customers, employees and other stakeholders. This would be aided by developing a growth mindset which helps see the immediate environment as an opportunity for development.
Networking- To achieve this, I would develop and maintain strong relationships with diverse people to help me get different perspectives on new ideas. Finding the best people and delegating them to working on different ideas would help build a strong and reliable creativity network.
Cultivating new thinking- Markedly, I would depict this through continually thinking outside the box, looking at and examining ways to help the organization stand out from competitors. Additionally, associating with, coaching and training employees and other stakeholders would spread the same mentality throughout the organization.
Comfort with change- In my professional life, I would display this by being more flexible and adaptable to change. I would also reinvent and develop new brands for the organization. Moreover, I would also study changes in the market and our competitors to identify positive effects of change and incorporate them in my professional life and organization.
Risk tolerance- Studying and experimenting new ideas would characterize my professional life. Whatever the style or method, I would believe in myself in all ideas I embark in innovating. Furthermore, I would display this by preparing adequately and turning any adversities in my way into successes.
Collaboration- to effectively show this dimension of leadership, I would build a great team and believe in it. Additionally, I would reframe innovation into a teamwork and participatory process so as to engineer group-developed creative ideas. I would also build and maintain relationships, establish harmony and promote communication with stakeholders.
SUMMARYOF THE MAIN LESSONS I HAVE LEARNT
Basedon the self-assessment of how I would portray the dimensions ofleadership the foster creativity, I have identified several areaswhich I need to work on to be a success.
To be a manager of execution. This means that I have to become at the forefront of innovation in my organization (De Jong & Den Hartog, 2007). This will be by being able to develop structured obligations, taking risks and collaborating with stakeholders. This will help people believe in the creative ideas by the organization. Rather than sitting and waiting for other organizations and people to innovate, I need to develop a growth mindset and spearhead innovation processes within the organization by being genuinely daring. Believing in others is yet another important facet on this dimension I will need to trust and build on ideas of others rather than doubt and procrastinate on them.
To improve my confidence, determination and persistence on new ideas- As a future innovative leader, I will need to have a lot of faith in myself and attainment of innovation goals and visions for the organization. No matter the probable obstacles in such endeavors, I will need to be a risk-taker in cultivating new thinking and engineering change. A leader is a role model for the organization and therefore so as to be motivating to others, I will need to be more energetic, focused and overcome my fears. For example, Mr. Branson was dyslexic but that did not stop him from spearheading innovation in the Virgin Group (Jackson, 1994).
I will need to develop outstanding communication skills- Notably communication is the foundation of innovation. I will need to consult and cooperate with customers and my people since most good innovative ideas lie within people’s experience- good or bad. I will need to consider current trends and feedback by customers and stakeholders by being an effective observer, listener and networker across all cultures. Being a good listener and eloquent speaker will be vital for me to listen and ask necessary questions. Noticeably, Mr. Branson has been able to make and maintain good relationship with people from all over the world such as South America and Africa without considering race, gender, language or social class.
Finally, I have identified the need to understand myself, know what I like and know what I am able to cope with. Mr. Branson thinks that business and innovation should be fun. This will keep me motivated into developing new ideas and make creating new ideas an exciting experience. Moreover, I will need to be honest to myself and others and admit shortcoming when they appear.
Itis out of question for leaders to possess the aforementioneddimensions in their work and professional life(Martins & Terblanche, 2003).The need to identify and put into practice these dimensions hastremendous effect of the success of being an innovative leader.Giving advice on innovation, Richard Branson says, “Screw it, justget on and do it”. Notably, some dimensions which I consider mostimportant for my future include: experimenting, networking, risktolerance and comfort with change.
Tosum up, this paper has provided an in-depth analysis of qualitiesthat a leader must have to foster creativity. While considering aninnovative leader who has inspired me, the paper includes anassessment of characteristics that I need to work on to achieve myidentified dimensions. Having developed the areas, I willsuccessfully innovate my way to further success in my work andprofessional life.
Carmeli,A., Meitar, R., & Weisberg, J. (2006). Self-leadership skills andinnovative behavior at work. InternationalJournal of Manpower,27(1),75-90.
DeJong, J. P., & Den Hartog, D. N. (2007). How leaders influenceemployees` innovative behaviour. EuropeanJournal of innovation management,10(1),41-64.
Dobni,C. B. (2008). The DNA of innovation. Journalof Business Strategy,29(2),43-50.
Hemlin,S., Allwood, C., Martin, B. & Mumford, M. (2013). Creativityand Leadership in Science, Technology, and Innovation.Hoboken: Taylor and Francis.
Jackson,T. (1994). Virginking: inside Richard Branson`s business empire.HarperCollins.
Martins,E. C., & Terblanche, F. (2003). Building organisational culturethat stimulates creativity and innovation. Europeanjournal of innovation management,6(1),64-74.
Shavinina,L. V. (2006). Micro‐socialfactors in the development of entrepreneurial giftedness: the case ofRichard Branson. HighAbility Studies,17(2),225-235.