Strategy, Innovation & Leadership

Innovation means seizing opportunities

By Carla Koen | August 13, 2018 | 1 min read

Ensuring a successful future of an organization is the main challenge for leaders. Innovation is an important strategic tool that can be employed to meet this challenge. In order to ensure that the results are successful, strategic decisions need to be implemented carefully. For many of the current senior managers, who are trained in the traditional innovation models, this means becoming aware of, understanding, and implementing appropriate processes and the right management style, argues Professor Carla Koen.

Successful innovation requires an iterative, open process that starts with the customer's needs or the market instead of the classical linear, internally focused process that takes the company's own knowledge and/or technology as a starting point. It involves identifying and seizing opportunities and not generating ideas.

Do not try to do everything yourselves

Within the contemporary context and given the future patterns, leaders must realize that the boundaries of the organization blur, especially when it comes to innovation. Regardless of the sector or size of an organization, it is advisable not to try to do everything yourselves. The choice about what to do yourselves, what to do together with partners, and what to buy in the market is an important management task. There are management tools for this, which need to be mastered so that informed decisions can be taken.

Professor Koen also claims that innovation within the new paradigm is no longer about the sustainable competitiveness of an organization but about the sustainable competitiveness of an ecosystem. Thinking in terms of ecosystems requires different management styles and models that go beyond those which managers have been traditionally learning. When innovation is concerned, managers cannot leave anything to chance even though it is tempting given the wonderful stories about creative geniuses.

Prof. Dr. Carla Koen is professor of Technology, Strategy, and Entrepreneurship at TIAS School for Business and Society and is a core teacher of the Innovation master class. 

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