Application of the Effective Innovation Leadership Model in a Digital Innovation Project: Case Study

Application of the Effective Innovation Leadership Model in a Digital Innovation Project: Case Study

Sabrina Schork (esn. Institut, Germany & Technical University Aschaffenburg, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5171-4.ch002
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Germany has become sedate and partially missed digital opportunities generating value. Since 1995, the term innovation leadership is getting increasing attention. Still, there exists no clear definition. The effective innovation leadership (EIL) model resulted from a Ph.D. thesis and is grounded in the iteration of six data sets. It has been used in industry since 2014. This chapter examines the application of the EIL model in one German middle-class enterprise in 2018/2019. Core challenges in the systemic context, which hinder the effectiveness of innovation leadership in the organizational context, are the support of people across functions and hierarchies as well as inflexible structures and digital access. Especially negative pressure coming from an overvaluation of the shareholder, egos fighting for power, extensive drama triangular, fixed mindsets, and freeloaders hinder the effectiveness of innovation leadership. A comparison of the EIL model with rival theory shows that innovation leadership is close to entrepreneurial approaches and an integral part of innovation management.
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Innovation Leadership

In order to provide a reasonable basis for effective innovation leadership, the main definitions follow.

Amabile (1983) defines creativity as the ability of an individual or group to think and act in an imaginative and shaping way to generate novel and useful ideas or solutions to problems.

Inventions are creative achievements based on the application of technical knowledge. Innovations in economics are associated with technical, social, or economic change (Gabler, 2019a).

While innovations are improvements of the existing without claiming uniqueness or intelligence, inventions, on the other hand, produce something new, which is the result of intelligence and goes beyond the obvious. Another criterion of the invention is “surprise” (Potts, 1943).

Innovation Management is a core business activity that is primarily geared to the characteristics of an innovation and thus combines management aspects. Operational innovation management aims at increasing the value of a company. This purpose is achieved by a novel combination of means and purposes, which is expressed in designing new products, process, service, or organization such as a corporate network. The Austrian economist Schumpeter (1883-1950) already pointed to most of the purposes, who also characterized the purpose of innovation management as “creative destruction,” i.e., the replacement of an existing one with something better (Gabler, 2019c). The scientists Adams et al. (2006) synthesized a framework of the innovation management process consisting of seven categories: inputs management, knowledge management, innovation strategy, organizational culture and structure, portfolio management, project management and commercialization.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Innovation: The creation of new forms of solutions (such as products, services or processes).

Strengths: Potentials that have been trained and thus developed into excellence.

Innovation Leadership: Power bringing innovation into the world.

Values: Belief systems that are driving decisions and actions.

Purpose: The intention of why jobs are done.

Effective Innovation Leadership: Transformation of a meaningful and useful idea into a marketable innovation for which the buyer is willing to pay a price that exceeds the expenses.

Effectivity: Realization of planned activities. The actions of the innovation leader create effects that contribute to value creation.

Leadership: Point of orientation that drives itself and others.

Resilience: The ability to cushion problems.

Digital Innovation: Digitization of processes, goods and services, leading to new business models and value chains.

Practices: Methods, tools, and instruments adopted in daily practice to get jobs done.

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