The Art of Innovation Leadership
"This is a review by Nicholas
Newman of Victor Newman's book
entitled "The Innovators Got To Do It-Understanding the Art of Innovation Leadership" published by knowledge
works books in 2010."
Every day, there is some story in the media about governments, universities and companies succeeding or failing at
innovation. Though, the most common complaint, you will hear is that there is a lack of an innovation culture. This
is despite great innovations occurring around the world, including Kalashnikovs AK-47, still the most used assault
rifle to the simple post-it note that you see littering documents all over the world.
The trouble is, organisations,
whether large or small find it very difficult to create an innovative leadership culture, perhaps a good example of
this is Japan's Sony Corp, which has not produced an innovative world beating consumer product since the Walkman.
Moreover, the questions, amongst many observers is, will Apple continue to maintain its innovative leadership, now
that Steve Jobs has sadly passed away.
What is perhaps most interesting
is that many of the world's greatest innovators succeeded despite not completing school or university, such as Mark
Zuckerburg the creator of Facebook. Unfortunately, our education systems perpetuate ideas of the past rather than
generate inspired and creative leaders like Bill Gates. Steve Jobs' last campaign was "think different" the problem with universities is
that they get trapped into stereotypes of "out of the box" thinking that have to meet their
The point of this book is for leaders to
comprehend the importance of their leadership innovation, behaviours (ILBs) in terms of where they are
currently and what they need to do to lead an innovation revolution in the future. This book is divided into
four sections, the first looks at the heart of innovation leadership and why it can fail to succeed. I
appreciate the aptness of the author’s definition about innovativeleadership, which it is
about ‘behaving unreasonably for the right reasons’. So the innovation that Vincent van Gogh showed in his
fantastic paintings of the sunflowers that are now so popular today, perhaps justifies his unreasonable
behaviour whilst alive.
What is interesting is Victor's
observation that many organisations get fixated about the processes and forget the importance of employing
genuinely innovative people. In addition, many organisations spend huge sums on so-called innovative
consultancies with little result. In a sense it's like the blind leading the blind.
What is interesting is for there
to be a successful innovation leadership to suceed, an organisation's CEO needs to understand what type of
innovative leader, he is. Together, with a comprehension of what needs to be changed in his behaviour and how
desperate such as leader is for such change.
Victor Newman has identified four main types of
leadership behaviours. They are the creators, translators, stabilisers and navigators. The writer points out with
real-life examples of CEOs leaders demonstrating varying combinations of such behaviours. It is argued for instance
that Kalashnikov like Steve Jobs had more of a Creator/ Translator personality, in that he was able to take other
people's ideas and integrating them into a new configuration with clear benefits.
I especially enjoyed the writer’s experience as
a consultant engaging with his client a dominant thrice divorced alpha male yacht owner, who despite his
claims to the contrary, regarded developing an innovative leadership company culture as a threat to his
position in the company as CEO. Towards the end of this section, Victor provides some interesting case studies
about how certain innovations have been affected by different innovation leadership types.
The last part of the book provides guidance on how you can
diagnose your own leadership personality and provides a guide about how you can develop a new innovation leadership
personality through a series of workshops. Also in this section you will find a series of case studies illustrating
some of the lessons Victor has learned as a consultant in aiding his clients into transforming themselves into
effective and productive innovative leaders.
To purchase this book see http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/2970978
For more about Victor Newman
Visit Victor's "Power House - Strategic Knowledge Management: Insights, Practical Tools & Techniques" on
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