3 Proven Ways to Spark Innovation In Your Leadership

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This article is part of my Global Leadership series;  Insights from more than a decade of leadership training around the world…

In today’s VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous), the ability to be an innovative leader has never been more important. And that means it matters more than ever to understand the 3 pillars of innovation.

In Tanzania, our organization, The Global Leadership Network (GLN) partners with a tremendous leader named Mbutho Chibwaye to present our flagship leadership event, The Global Leadership Summit.

On a recent visit to Tanzania, Mbutho explained to me that he carries a sense of urgency to equip the emerging generation of young Tanzanians in world-class leadership. His challenge has been that most young people would simply be unable to pay the same ticket price for such training as do adults.

And this is where Mbutho has excelled in leading by the 3 pillars of innovation.

Pillar 1: Innovation requires that the mission be more important than the obstacle

For Mbutho, the mission to equip young people is far greater than the size of the financial obstacle he faced.

Innovation rarely happens where the leader is lukewarm towards the mission. To unlock your innovation as a leader, start by checking your passion level for the goal you are pursuing.

Pillar 2: Innovation recognizes that “constraints drive creativity”

Mbutho’s approach to leadership echoes that of GLS Champion Craig Groeschel, who reminds leaders that constraints can be leveraged to drive creativity.

Innovative leaders don’t become frustrated by the constraints, they allow those constraints to fuel the drive to find new solutions.

Pillar 3: Innovation keeps trying, until you get it right

Mbutho experimented with various models until he found one that could work. For the emerging generation leaders, he actually made the tickets free of charge. But to generate revenue, he provided new leadership products and services that these young people could purchase if they chose. These new revenues covered the costs for the training he was now providing for free.

The lesson here is that if you’re going to succeed as an innovative leader, you’ll need the resilience to keep getting it wrong, until you finally get it right.

What Mbutho has demonstrated, and what all leaders need to embrace, is that in today’s unpredictable world, innovation is not optional. For leaders, it’s an essential.

And it begins by standing on 3 pillars.

the author

Scott Cochrane

Lifelong learner, practitioner and coach of leadership, across more than 50 countries. Follower of Jesus, husband of Nora, grateful parent and grandparent.

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