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Making creativity and innovation happen
Making creativity and innovation happen

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7 Knowledge creation and wise leaders

In Section 6 you considered how a supportive culture is key for creativity and innovation to thrive. Just as important, however, is the role of leadership.

Anything that happens within the context of a team, group or organisation requires leadership. In many ways the mere existence of leadership helps solve problems within organisations by providing direction and helping to facilitate solution-finding, both of which are required if organisations are to succeed.

The notion of the Innovation Architect, proposed by Paddy Miller and Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg, is less about doing and more about supporting others as they engage in creative and innovative activities. Miller and Wedell-Wedellsborg emphasise three key leadership practices:

  • being a leader of innovation is different to being an innovator
  • innovation should be ongoing within the organisation’s daily work, rather than just at special times of the year or only by specific people
  • the focus for leaders should not be on changing people, but rather on changing the environment in which people work.
(adapted from Miller and Wedell-Wedellsborg, 2013, pp. 4–6)

While it is all well and good for a leader to be an innovation architect as Miller and Wedell-Wedellsborg propose, that still leaves the question of where new ideas come from. This was to an extent addressed in Section 6, but useful insights can also be gained by considering the case of Japan, which you will look at next.