Why Your Innovation Leadership Training Will Fail by Henry Doss at Forbes on 6 June 2013.

When looking at innovation through a leadership lens, the author offers,

“Innovation is a product of culture (not individuals). Culture is an emergent factor of systems (not individuals). Therefore, systems drive innovation (not individuals).”

An interesting thought piece on how systems, and not individuals per se, should be the focus of leadership training.  I don’t think that you can actually separate the two.  I see that the root of improving systems actually is based on individuals – systems don’t just come out of thin air.  Systems are created and modified by individuals, therefore by increasing the knowledge and abilities of the individual (personal development AND systems development), you will get better systems, leading to better culture, leading to innovation.

When I posted my observations on the original article’s website, the author offered the following:

Thanks Chris. It’s sort of like Yin and Yang, since the individual is always interacting with the system in a feedback loop. All this brings to mind the Hawthorne effect, and the notion that the system/awarenesses inside of which you operate profoundly effect your actions. So, for example, if you are in an environment/system where “trust” is overtly proclaimed and expected, you might be more inclined to trust. And so on. Which, in turn, would reinforce trust as a cultural value. It’s a very symbiotic relationship (systems/people). I think if we have strong, ethical leaders who are aware of the power of systems, institutional processes, and expectations (and modifying those as part of their leadership), then you have the best possible outcomes.

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