Posted by: Jeanne Meinholt
Senior Researcher on Wed 29 Mar

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

Tight deadlines might be positive for creativity

For managers looking to spur greater creativity in their teams, research shows that it may be okay to impose tight deadlines and let workers bite off more than they can chew1. However, it is important to remember that different workers will have different tolerances to this approach and that harsh criticism has no place in more open-ended tasks, like ideation.

Leading Executive Viewpoint: There is no doubt that deadlines do confer some benefits, like giving us a strong reason to prioritise the task at hand and not to worry about smaller matters. But are tight deadlines good for creativity or are they ‘just’ good for productivity? To many, creative sparks seem to happen in the last moments. To others, the closer a deadline is, the less open they are to outside ideas, the lifeblood of creativity.

Consider if and how you can use deadlines to increase productivity. Learn who reacts positively to deadlines and who reacts negatively to deadlines in your team.

Enhance the synergy between younger and older colleagues

Organisations that succeed in creating synergy between the entrepreneurial mindsets of millennials and the knowledge and experience of older employees will be more likely to stay competitive. This is why reverse mentoring, when both parties act in the capacity of a mentor as well as a mentee, is a fantastic tool when it works. It bridges the gap between the development of leadership competencies for the millennials and, at the same time, improves the innovator skills of the older cohort2.

Leading Executive Viewpoint: Organisations can experience difficulty when it comes to blending millennials into an intergenerational workplace. Younger generations can face resistance to new ideas or changes, especially from long-term employees with a ‘we know best’ mindset. Innovative leadership development requires forward-thinking direction from the upper-most levels of an organisation.

Look at your own circle of influence. Do you enable or inhibit co-creation between the older and younger generations in the workplace?

The downside of high Emotional Intelligence remains largely unexplored

It seems the more common pattern for people with high Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is to be great at following processes, building relations, and working with others, but to lack the necessary levels of nonconformity and unconventionality that can drive them to challenge the status quo and replace it with something new3. However, there is no doubt high EQ people are highly desirable employees, but extremely high EQ might be more suited to some roles rather than others.

Leading Executive Viewpoint: It can seem a bit naïve how we have happily embraced the positive qualities of EQ without even considering any potential downsides. However, there is a downside to every human trait and, although definitions vary, EQ always comprises intrapersonal and interpersonal skills, which are key skills in business. We should be careful not to paint a black and white picture with EQ.

Consider what skills are most important in your organisation and where EQ is best suited.

The complete Innovation Priorities report accompanies the other 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.

Sources: 1Akinola, M. (2016) How Setbacks Spur Leaps Forward. Columbia Business School, [online] 9 Dec. Available at: [28 Mar 2017]; 2Harrison, A. E. (2016) Exploring Millennial Leadership Development: A Rapid Evidence Assessment of Information Communication Technology and Reverse Mentoring Competencies. 6th International Engaged Management Scholarship Conference, [online] 9 Sept, Available at SSRN: [28 March 2017]; 3Chamorro-Premuzic, T. and Yearsley, A. (2017) The Downsides of Being Very Emotionally Intelligence. HBR, [online] 12 Jan. Available at: [Feb 14 2017].

Get involved in the cutting edge of the executive agenda.

Other Recent Blogs

Discuss topics like this in detail with industry leaders.

Learn More

Techniques Referenced in this Blog

Adaptation Innovation Theory | Authority, Autocracy, Autonomy | Cross-Training | Emotional Intelligence | Empowering Employees | Group Dynamics | Person-Organisation Fit | Phases of Change | Transformational Leadership

Build capability with the latest management and leadership techniques

Learn more

Read the KnowledgeBrief monthly Business SCAN publication

Stay ahead in business with the latest ideas, innovations and research, in brief – filtered from the finest sources globally.
Protect and Enhance Wellbeing in the Workplace
Learn more