Effective leaders have discovered that successful innovation is often characterized by paradox, and they address the following 12 factors through focus and action:
Innovative organizations have strong innovation machines but recognize that some of the best ideas come from outside the machine. Corporate innovation groups are often highlighted as hallmarks of successful growth-oriented organizations. However, groups that act solely as control functions rather than enabling ones inadvertently work against themselves as they miss ideas that could yield growth.
While some degree of control is essential for discipline and effectiveness, innovation groups that focus on enabling others generate more and better ideas as they support and elevate the best ones regardless of where they come from.
Siloes can be anathema to innovative thinking, but are often necessary for depth and execution. Organizations need departments, hierarchy and structure to execute ideas, but they can limit innovation by reducing collaboration and leading to insufficient solutions that require broader thinking.
Effective leaders successfully balance breadth and depth for meaningful innovation outcomes.
Innovators often feel like imposters, but don’t realize that feeling is part of a growth mindset. Studies show that innovators often experience imposter syndrome, or feelings of inadequacy that manifest as self-doubt or self-perception of being a fraud. WTW’s Paige Seaborn writes how effective leaders work to change the way colleagues think about self-doubt – seeing that it is part of a growth mindset, with an attitude of “I don’t know what I’m doing yet but it’s only a matter of time until I figure it out.”
I have not failed 10,000 times – I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.”Thomas Edison | Inventor
The bottom line is getting innovation right is a balancing act that requires effective leaders who can see beyond the contradictions and understand the nuances involved in bringing ideas to fruition.
A version of this article originally appeared on Forbes.com on February 27, 2023.