Strategic advances are not made through problem solving; they are made when organisations become the first to find a profitable way to exploit new opportunities. Resolving problems is about dealing with the past, not the future. Problem solving may help you drive performance – or at least return it to previous levels – but it will not dramatically improve your strategic position.

It is innovation that drives sustainable profit growth. Successive reports and studies confirm that high-growth, high-profit companies are those that are best able to drive innovation.

During this century Apple, Google and Amazon have all created new markets and delivered massive profit growth through a commitment to innovation, just as Ford, GE and Procter & Gamble did in the twentieth century.

The table below sets out 13 characteristics of Innovation Leaders and how they compare to Incrementalists. Why don’t you go through the list, identify which characteristics better describe you, your leadership team and your organisation?

Are You An ‘Innovation Leader’ or ‘Incrementalist’?

Incrementalists   Innovation Leaders
Survive   Thrive
Follower   Leader
Urgent   Important
Travelling without a map   A clear direction
What next!?!   What if?
No choice   Endless possibilities
Rushed decisions   Rapid learning
Overwhelmed   Focused action
Them   Us
Dealing with the past   Focused on the future
Risk avoidance   Prudent risk-taking
Problem solving   Raising the bar
“To Do” lists   … and “To Don’t” lists

And, if you don’t tick the ‘Innovation Leader’ column for one or more characteristic, why don’t you download my booklet, How To Be An Innovation Leader.

© Stuart Cross 2019. All rights reserved.