Ready to Lead Innovation Around the World?

How can innovation leaders inspire international teams to collaborate and innovate for global and local impact? A rapidly changing innovation landscape that is multicultural and digitally connected requires new competencies for leading strategic initiatives.

On June 29th, founder and Executive Director Karina R. Jensen and Global Innovation and Marketing Leader Bryan Semkuley delivered an insightful webinar on the challenges of leading and facilitating a collaborative innovation process across geographies. A lack of attention to cultural considerations can negatively impact every phase of the innovation process, from concept to market.

The importance of market insights backed by cultural intelligence, concept creation that factors international needs, co creating strategic plans with local team engagement and execution backed by market readiness are required for successful global innovations. Building collaboration for international projects requires trust building and open communication. Innovation leaders need cultural intelligence when engaging with local teams to ensure an inclusive design process. Leaders need to create an open and safe environment to encourage idea sharing and initiative-taking. Responsiveness to idea sharing can either be through constructive feedback or setting up cross cultural teams to facilitate knowledge sharing. Towards this, digital platforms can be leveraged to create community ecosystems for knowledge sharing.

Brian Semkuley pointed out that building an innovation culture will require innovation leaders to demonstrate cultural empathy. Leaders need to be supportive of idea sharing and demonstrate responsiveness to market needs by ensuring local input is being used in the innovation process. Innovation leaders should consider the complete network and innovation strategy at the front end of the gatekeeping process. Moving from a sequential to concurrent model, receiving inputs on execution early in the design process, testing the product in a lead market will all contribute to understanding prior to global launch. Importance of regular and frequent communication to all stakeholders was also emphasized.

Participants were taken through the Global Innovation Readiness framework developed for leaders responsible for global initiatives and based on a decade of research across industries. The framework consists of three key drivers that facilitate collaboration throughout every phase of the innovation cycle: Vision through inclusive leadership and strategic co-creation; Dialogue through open knowledge-sharing and cross-cultural learning, and Space powered by an innovation culture and creative team climate.

Webinar participants were asked to reflect on three questions concerning global launch readiness in preparation for taking the Score Card challenge where everyone could make an individual assessment if they were ready to launch.

  • Do you have a Global vision or plan that is shared by teams worldwide?
  • Are teams and regions aligned across functions and cultures?
  • Are teams ready to communicate and execute in every geographical location?

The new Global Innovation Readiness Compass tool was shared with all of the participants to address challenges and opportunities in designing an effective innovation process. With their Global Readiness scores in hand, participants could optimize the canvas map tool for planning and preparing upcoming initiatives.  An inclusive and structured process helps identify  actionable steps for driving innovation performance and results.

It was an insightful webinar where participants were given invaluable tools and tips to prepare for successful global initiatives. A full recording of the webinar is available here  If you would like to test your fitness level for leading innovation around the world, check out the Global Readiness Score Card and Compass Map tools here:

Author: Swati Subramaniam, Global Communications Intern

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