Author: Erika McCoy
IBSS Senior Executive Director, Education
1. In your opinion, what makes a company innovative?
Their ability to:
- Provide the team with the freedom to be creative and act based on their passions.
- Focus and have perseverance, yet agile enough to make proactive changes.
- Cultivate an environment that supports smart risk taking and believes that failures are really learning opportunities.
- Have the insight to know what their customers need before the customer asks for it and the infrastructure to implement that new solution.
2. What makes your company innovative?
Leadership trust the team and supports new ideas. Failures are defined as NOT doing something; in other words, action is strongly encouraged and supported even if it is a new risky concept. We also leverage our employees’ competencies and channel them to different areas within the company.
3. What or who are some innovative companies or people that inspire you and your team?
Steve Jobs, Seth Godwin, Dan Cathy, Elon Musk, Andy Grove, Brené Brown, and Reshma Saujani rose to the top of our list.
Apple, Google, Amazon, and Intel were named by several team members as innovative companies. The reason we listed these is because they are focused on solving real problems by breaking away from the status quo that industry dinosaurs protect.
4. What are some publications, print or digital, you read daily or have read that help you
stay on top of your game?
Leadercast, Harvard Business Review, Ed Week, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Courage Works, Fierce Leadership, Politico, Wired, Center for Creative Leadership and The Wall Street Journal because of the depth and breadth of information. Our team thinks it is important to not just read industry specific content, but to have a broad knowledge about economics, politics, history, science, education, leadership, technology, etc. One must know the world in order to do business in that world. Also, part of doing business is about telling a good story with depth.
5. What advice would you give to up-and-coming leaders striving to be innovative in today’s business environment?
#1. Recognize the power of team, communication and humility.
#2. Provide your team with the opportunity to meet their goals and objectives in a variety of ways.
#3. Trust your team’s ability and acknowledge their creativity.
#4. Create an environment that is fun and encourages open communication.
#5. Always lead by example.
Lastly, be authentic, a little (or a lot) crazy, extremely courageous and don't be basic. Marry your vision to sound strategy.