Posted by: Katherine Raleigh
Programme Manager on Tue 22 Aug

At our monthly Innovation Days, KnowledgeBrief clients scan the latest ideas in the world of management innovation and identify their top priorities for action right now. Here’s a summary of the viewpoints discussed at the recent Innovation Days.

Trust is the essential ingredient

In practice, trust can be a difficult balance to get right. On one hand, employees see trust as freedom and autonomy to find their own preferred patterns of working. On the other hand, some see trust as their leaders being in close contact with their employees. One person’s trust can be another person’s neglect.

It’s up to leaders to signal trust in their employees in consistent and thoughtful ways. But how do we get this right, when everyone is different. According to a Professor of Strategy at the Kellogg School, trust is about value-based leadership and how you relate to people. Consider these four key attributes that will take you down a path of value-based leadership built on trust1: (1) Become a little more self-reflective. (2) Establish more balance. (3) Have true self-confidence. (4) Genuine humility.

Consider what you can do to become more reflective and self-reflective in relation to your team.


The power of visualisation

Clients at the Innovation Day considered how they could use visualisation to help present information within a supply chain scenario. There is a big cause and effect in the supply chain process, but some suppliers often work in silos. If a company had a visual image of the chain, it would help to see how a local effect can have a broad impact.

As a leader, it’s important to remember that drawing and visualisation has a big impact in breaking down barriers and seeing things in a different perspective. A rich history of research shows that having more creative, playful ways of presenting information goes a long way towards removing barriers and increasing collaboration across teams2.

Visualise. Illustrate the exchange of information and the distribution of responsibility in your team. Draw a diagram of your strategic plan: how are resources and capabilities aligned with your strategic objectives?


It takes courage to innovate

Innovation Programme clients are aware that to innovate, you need courage. However, few people in an organisation are ready to challenge the norm and implement something new. There is a fear of failure and many prefer simply to avoid the pain of this process.

However, leaders and managers need to remember that courage is not just about heroic acts in grandiose situations – it’s about every day, solid-as-a-rock support3. It’s about taking a risk on a great idea, and it’s about seeing opportunities in the day-to-day. Courageous leaders are the everyday people who lead steadily through rough waters.

Are you moving out of your comfort zone? Develop your ability to focus through tough times and leverage your strength in situations large and small.


Mobile revolution and its impact of productivity

The mobile revolution is bringing information anywhere, anytime, to anyone. It is a cultural shift for the workforce: you are allowed to do your job wherever you are, with smart devices supporting all the processes. The time spent on paperwork and related procedures are dramatically reduced, while you can concentrate on solving real problems, more quickly and with more flexibility. In addition, a recent study has found that employees who work from home are more motivated and effective4.

Taking this approach can bring real benefit across all functions, and there is an opportunity to disrupt the current way of working. In health and social care, for example, staff are often faced with time constraints – but by taking a more agile approach, patients could be visited online or remotely, or paperwork could be eliminated by inputting data on a handheld device in real time.

Do you offer the option of telecommuting, digital or distributed work? What tasks or processes could be done remotely?


Sources: 1Kraemer, H.M. and Cooper, C. (2017) Video: How Leaders Build Trust, KI, Jul 7; 2Vercaeren, G. (2017) How Drawings May Get to the Root of Your Silo Issues. INSEAD Knowledge, INSEAD EMCCC, 13 June; 3Sebaly, A. (2017) The Courageous Leader: How to Face Any Challenge and Lead Your Team to Success. Wiley: New Jersey; 4Masuda, A., Holtschlag, C., and Nicklin, J. (2017) Why the availability of telecommuting matters. Career Development International, 22(2), 200-219.

The complete Innovation Priorities report accompanies the monthly KnowledgeBrief SCAN and ACT publications available to clients. It captures clients’ collective views on stand-out priorities for action, and includes further research and action points from our Research Faculty to support turning these priorities into practice.

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