The 21st century organisational framework requires organisations to think innovatively in order to ensure continued success and to stay ahead of the competition. Innovative thinking means being creative, flexible and agile enough to cater to the emerging needs and opportunities presented to them.
But, what is innovation and how does it differ from creativity?
Oftentimes innovation is confused with creativity. However, one should note that they are not the same. Creativity is merely a generation of a novel idea that may not necessarily be put into operation. Innovation, on the other hand, is the next level of creativity – it is turning an idea into a solution that adds value and meets a specific need. There are two types of innovation – exploratory innovation and exploitative innovation. Both types of innovation require different structures, strategies, processes, capabilities, and cultures to succeed.
Exploratory innovation refers to the generation of novel ideas, strategies, and solutions through the use of strictly open behaviours exhibited most often by transformational leaders (Afasar, F. Badir, & Bin Saeed, 2014). It is characterised by search, discovery, experimentation, and risk taking. Exploitative innovation on the other hand, occurs when innovative thinking adjusts, revises, or reframes its product or services offering within the marketplace. Studies have shown that a balance of the two brings about superior performance among an organisation’s employees and enables an organisation to do the following: solve impossible problems, increase workplace productivity, showcase unique qualities, and beat tough competitors.
Though most leaders recognise the importance of innovation in the workplace, many of them are not equipped to pursue and to implement it. To have an innovative workplace requires a leader with a transformational style of leadership where creative thinking is fostered. Innovative leaderscreate an environment where team members feel safe and free to voice novel ideas, and provide employees with the resources needed for those ideas to take place. According to research, leaders who engage transformational leadership where seen as stronger role models which resulted in an increase in creative performance amongst subordinates.
So how does coaching come into the picture?
Coaching can help you become a transformational type of leader through these 4 step coaching process:
Step 1. Sharpening your Social & Emotional Intelligence skills
– The first step requires building your foundation. Social and emotional intelligence is the ability to be aware of our own and others’ feelings – in the moment – and use that information to lead yourself and others. Building your Social & Emotional Intelligence skills is the core foundation to being an effective transformational leader.
Step 2. Equipping you with the right Tools
– After building your foundation, your coach will equip you with the right tools in order for those mentioned skills to be developed and to be used effectively.
Step 3. Application
– For you to know more about your skills and to harness it, you should start to put them to practice. Application involves exploration on what works best for you and your team. As a leader you can start to cultivate a culture of innovation in your workplace by mindful listening, generation of individual and team ideas, and creative-sharing sessions.
Step 4. Evaluation & Follow-up
– Following the first 3 steps doesn’t guarantee an instant result. After following those, you and your coach would set a schedule for meet-ups and to take time to evaluate your performance. This would enable you to stay on track of your development and further analyse your capabilities.
In a fast-paced competitive market, falling behind the race is unacceptable. So don’t get dragged down. Start building up your body for the race and let innovation be your backbone!
Learn more about coaching or become a professional coach yourself by contacting the Australian Institute of Professional Coaches 1 300 309 306 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org . We look forward to speaking with you soon.