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Innovation: The most potent form of leadership development

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Innovation is the most
potent form of leadership development.
You can't
outsource the important things. After
working with more than 100 clients, we have noted one of the most critical
factors in the success of an innovation project: if you outsource all of the work on your innovation projects, they
will fail.

It doesn't matter if you use our humble Studio or a 7-figure firm from Palo
Alto or London. Many good innovation firms can generate consumer insights
and craft a winning portfolio of concepts that have the nature to change
your top-line growth. Yet, without
training your team on the methods and tools of innovation, the breakthrough
thinking will be resisted
. The concepts will die on the vine.

Train Your Team
you have to train your team to vet new growth without preset filters,
especially if this growth is outside of your current business model.
Training a core team of innovators at your organization has many benefits.
Here are several:
  • Learn the tools
    that create new value
  • Generate consumer and
    customer insights
  • Break down silos by having
    multidisciplinary teams train together 
Innovation now demands to be a centerpiece of
any professional training and development program. If you aren't teaching these core practices, your
competitors are.
as Leadership and Professional Development
The primary objective of
Leadership and Professional Development is to cultivate emerging leaders who
show nascent traits of greatness'and to harness their value they bring to their
organizations. Innovation training teaches many of the most valuable skills in
an immersive, hands-on, non-theoretical way.
The hard skills including
learning empathy for potential users of their product or service, a contextual
understanding of the market, methods for analyzing primary market research
data, tools for reframing business issues, mastering the creation and
facilitation of ideation sessions, rapid prototyping, market testing of
prototyping, incorporating adaptive market-feedback inspired changes to
prototypes quickly and inexpensively, and practice of narrative-style
communication skills that evoke and motivate.
Soft skills include
expanding mindsets so they look for market potential even if it exists outside
of the current business model, rank-less and multi-disciplinary collaboration
training, deep listening, respect for others, creative confidence and
conviction, an in-depth understanding of the human factors and psychology
guiding the invisible forces of the market, adaptive thinking, iterative and
non-linear approaches to problem solving, critical thinking, pattern
recognition, and abductive reasoning.
As a veteran of many
training programs, I can attest that there is no more engrossing of a
leadership development process than attending an innovation bootcamp or
workshop. The lessons work upon both the external work processes and
relationship skills and internal, personal growth. More important, as you learn
by doing, there is a sense of the lesson adding value outside of the sometimes
solipsistic category of personal development.
You cannot outsource
innovation without missing the most seminal opportunity of a lifetime
including the new value you can create for your organization and the most
holistic leadership training on the market.
Michael Graber is the
managing partner of the Southern Growth Studio, an innovation and strategic
growth firm based in Memphis, TN and the author of going Electric. Visit to learn more.
 P.S. New from an innate innovator:

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