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Leading from the Middle

Author(s): Lisa Fornier

Journal: Strategic Leadership Review
ISSN 2164-5108

Volume: 1;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 30;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: Leadership | Innovation

Innovation is the creative process of design, development and implementation of new products, processes or services to improve efficiency, effectiveness, or to build a differentiator for sustainable competitive advantage. Innovation insists on disrupting the market, industry, and organization, spawning change and disturbing the status quo. Innovation requires a strategic approach of thinking and planning throughout the organization, facilitated by strategic leaders and embraced within the ecosystem of stakeholders. A cursory glance across the Internet for “innovation organization” provides the reader tens of millions of possible links to companies promoting their claim to being “innovative.” Gaining insight on innovation in an organization requires in-depth investigation into the perceptions of the people and underlying frameworks of the organization. This article is a qualitative research study with three director-level learning leaders who embrace strategy in an innovation-promoting organization. The study explores essential strategic components, including: 1) vision-sharing, 2) diversity, 3) knowledge management, 4) innovation programs, and 5) communication to determine if and how these leaders embrace strategic thinking, strategic planning, and socio-technical systems to foster an innovative culture.

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