Co-innovation needs leaders with a set of skills not yet taught at MBAs

BY Fernando L. Mompó on 07 / 06 / 2014

First of all, collaborative innovation, as any other kind of innovation, needs ideas, of course. But ideas are just a raw material worth almost nothing if not transformed into value. I’m sorry to say but you already know: “ideas are a dime a dozen”.

Collaborative innovation needs also proper methodology and tools because, unfortunately, collaboration does not come naturally. Not at least in a cultural context, the business context, where competition has been the driving force for centuries. Collaborative innovation needs some other ingredients to succeed as, for instance, open minded participants, resources, time and patience and, why not, luck.

But all these could be considered necessary but not sufficient elements.  In our experience, if there is a key ingredient, a really sufficient element able to get over the lack or insufficiency of the others, this is leadership.

And yet, there is not much literature about collaborative leadership, not at least as much as it’s easy to find about some other skills that business schools and management books think are essential for a business leader to have. It’s not surprise: Neither seems companies have demanded the competency required to know how to work across organizational boundaries nor have implemented any reward system to encourage collaboration, if not the opposite.

Besides, most of what is published about collaborative leadership is usually restricted to the ability to get inside collaboration within the team or the organization the manager have a direct control, not so much about how to collaborate with “outsiders” , which requires a different set of skills.

This is the reason why we liked an article published by Ivey Business Journal focused in this second case of key collaborative competencies.

The Collaborative Imperative

It’s worth to notice how all literature referring to these set of skills points out those are a need for the “manager of the future”, confronting the collaborative competency with something close to the opposite that is becoming old fashioned.  Another interesting article published by Innocentive focused in finding the differences between traditional and collaborative leaders.

8 Differences Between Traditional and Collaborative Leaders

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