Answer Business Innovation Course Discussion Post NO PLAGIARISM

AT LEAST 300 WORDS AND CITE ALL REFERENCESDiscussion: Shared Practice: Harnessing the Creativity of Your TeamThere may come a time when you have to lead an important effort or initiative in your organization. This week’s Discussion puts you in such a place where you are asked to work with a team to develop an innovative customer loyalty program. The challenge is to develop a plan that lays out a process whereby the team has the support necessary to create ideas, evaluate solutions, and implement an innovative program. As you consider the steps you will take to develop your plan, recall the ten fatal flaws that can derail leaders outlined by Zenger and Folkman (2009) and the ways leaders can inhibit creativity discussed by Amabile and Steven (2012). Be sure to keep these in mind as you create your course of action.Imagine that you have been hired recently as a new manager of an auto-dealership that sells new and pre-owned vehicles. You work for Kendrick Auto Group, which own 27 dealerships in the region. The owner has tasked you with experimenting at your dealership to create a new, effective, and unique customer loyalty program. The current loyalty program is merely imitative of other competitor programs and the owners see an opportunity to create a distinctive organizational strategy that will separate their dealerships from those of the competitors.As the manager of the dealership, your staff includes sales consultants who show vehicles to potential commercial and individual buyers, financial staff who assist buyers with payment plans, extended warranties, maintenance plans, and loans, and parts and service technicians who help repair and maintain vehicles on the lot and purchased by customers.With these thoughts in mind:By Day 3Post an organized plan for how you intend to employ the creativity of your staff to create a new and innovative customer loyalty program. (Note: Your plan should not describe a customer loyalty program such as an extended warranty or a maintenance plan. You do not need to develop the plan for the loyalty program.) The idea is to develop a team with a diversity of creative thinking styles from your staff (ideators, clarifiers, developers, and implementers). Be sure to include:How you would bring a team together and lead them to start such an initiative.The tools that you have used in this course (design thinking, creative-thinking styles, etc.) to get your team to leave its comfort zone and begin to generate potential ideas. Explain how the thinking style diversity or lack thereof of your team could potentially help or impede the plan.The techniques you and the team could use to filter/evaluate potential ideas (divergent/convergent thinking) to create a viable customer loyalty program strategy.Use the resources from this week and from throughout the course to support your plan.

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To generate creative business
ideas, breakthrough
innovators must be fiercely
tested and wisely deployed.
Finding and Grooming
by Jeffrey Cohn, Jon Katzenbach, and Gus Vlak
Included with this full-text Harvard Business Review article:
1 Article Summary
The Idea in Brief—the core idea
The Idea in Practice—putting the idea to work
2 Finding and Grooming Breakthrough Innovators
9 Further Reading
A list of related materials, with annotations to guide further
exploration of the article’s ideas and applications
Reprint R0812D
This document is authorized for use only in Laureate Education, Inc.’s Fostering a Culture of Innovation – NEW course at Laureate Education – Baltimore, from August 2017 to October 2018.
Finding and Grooming Breakthrough
The Idea in Brief
The Idea in Practice
Just 5%–10% of your high-potential managers have the skills to become breakthrough innovators. If you don’t find and
groom these rarities, some other company
will mastermind the next big thing.
Look for line managers who can:
Pair innovators with different seasoned experts
over time. With these mentors, protégés can
test new ideas, assumptions, and business
cases for potential new offerings before
introducing them to others in the company.
Mentors can also help fledgling innovators
better grasp the underlying agendas of the
senior executives who must be won over.
To identify potential innovators, look for star
performers with innovators’ distinguishing
attributes, advise Cohn, Katzenbach, and
Vlak. These qualities include not only the
ability to propose new ideas but also an
unwillingness to rely on past successes and
a knack for selling novel ideas to a diverse
array of constituents.
Then give them the experiences and
support they need to master the innovation process. For example, take them out of
their line positions and replant them in the
middle of your organizational chart. Give
them access to important specialists (for
instance, in operations and marketing)
across the company. And pair them with
carefully selected mentors who will “testdrive” their arguments for particular ideas
and connect them with a wide range of
• Zero in on the crucial points buried in the
masses of information (such as conflicting
customer preferences) circulating through
your firm
• Evaluate new challenges with a clean slate
rather than relying on solutions that have
been successful in the past
• Encourage others to share insights that
may lead to valuable new products or
Present these managers with simulations of
real-world scenarios from which some key
information is omitted. Then notice how well
they weed through ambiguity, reach decisions based on the available data, and make
the case for their choices. Gradually give
them more information, observing whether
they can change positions when the evidence
Also plug your innovators into peer networks
who meet regularly. These networks provide a
sense of solidarity and a fertile environment
for exchanging ideas.
Take your innovators out of their line positions
and place them in the middle of the company’s organization chart, where no formal
boxes exist. There, they become “innovation
hubs”—with easy access to influencers across
the organization, autonomy, and a big-picture
view of how products, ideas, and people can
be recombined in new, value-adding ways.
Give your future innovators opportunities to
demonstrate that they can recognize promising ideas, lead teams of experts to develop
them, and sell them to top executives.
Hospitality firm Starwood identified a
midlevel product manager as a potential
innovator. It assigned him to lead a team to
develop new in-room entertainment services in addition to his full-time responsibilities. He had freedom to choose his team
from different parts of the organization
(negotiating with territorial bosses along
the way) and to set the team’s ground
rules, strategy, and goals. In very short
order, he had to develop a marketing plan
and then defend it before the executive
team. Executives ultimately signed off on
the plan, which became a huge success
for Starwood.
page 1
This document is authorized for use only in Laureate Education, Inc.’s Fostering a Culture of Innovation – NEW course at Laureate Education – Baltimore, from August 2017 to October 2018.
To generate creative business ideas, breakthrough innovators must be
fiercely tested and wisely deployed.
Finding and Grooming
by Jeffrey Cohn, Jon Katzenbach, and Gus Vlak
“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated,” asserted a surprisingly lively Steve Jobs
when a host of innovative new Apple products
were unveiled at an exhibition in September
2008. Quoting Mark Twain, Jobs was trying to
nip in the bud speculation that he was suffering severe health problems. By all accounts
he succeeded on that occasion. But the following month Jobs suffered a heart attack. Apple’s
board faces a daunting challenge: how to
groom the next Steve Jobs. When it comes to
innovation, few modern corporate executives
are more closely associated with revolutionary
change. During his tenure at Apple, the company’s product introductions have altered
not only how we talk but also how we live: the
Mac, the iPod, iTunes, the iPhone 3G.
What should Jobs and Apple be doing now
to ensure that the next generation of “musthave” technology is not masterminded elsewhere? It’s a valid question. Ask anyone on
Wall Street, on Main Street, or certainly on
Apple’s board, and the reaction will be unanimous: The issue is pressing.
harvard business review • december 2008
Finding and developing breakthrough innovators is a major challenge for growthoriented organizations of all sizes, not just
for Apple. According to interviews conducted
by the executive search ?rm Spencer Stuart,
more than two-thirds of directors at the leading global companies it advises cite innovation as critical for long-term success. Indeed,
boardroom discussions often center on just
two questions: How can we sustain innovation? and Do we have a plan for developing
future leaders who can facilitate this goal?
Part of the problem is a talent shortage.
Truly innovative people are rare. Perhaps 5%
or 10% of the high-potential managers within
a company at any given time have the skills
and attributes to become innovators. (Andrew
England, the chief marketing of?cer at MillerCoors, believes the ?gure is actually closer to
1%.) But ?nding talent is not the only issue; a
bigger problem is what to do with it.
Most companies do a magni?cent job of
smothering the creative spark. Over the past
?ve years we have probed the innovation
page 2
This document is authorized for use only in Laureate Education, Inc.’s Fostering a Culture of Innovation – NEW course at Laureate Education – Baltimore, from August 2017 to October 2018.
Finding and Grooming Breakthrough Innovators
strategies of 25 organizations in multiple
industries and countries. Our ?ndings are
simple and somewhat disturbing, given the
acknowledged necessity for innovation: Companies usually develop leaders who replicate
rather than innovate. Thus rising stars realize
that to be promoted, they need to mirror
incumbent leaders. Even when stellar external talent comes in, it is frequently drawn
into the same anti-innovation culture that has
been squelching internal talent (see the sidebar “The Dangers of Competency Modeling”).
The tendency is rooted in false beliefs
about how innovation works. Senior managers seem to assume that innovators spontaneously generate new ideas much as a magician
pulls a rabbit from his hat—that if they
simply leave these people alone, golden ideas
will spring forth. Then sales, marketing, engineering, and ?nance people can decide how
to implement and pro?t from them. In fact
most revolutionary ideas evolve quite differently. Innovators propose new ideas. Various
experts within the company sort through
enormous amounts of information and often
con?icting opinions. Then the innovators
home in on the most critical components, see
connections, and discern how to bridge different parts; they work hard and ef?ciently to
recombine these pieces and cultivate internal
buy-in for the innovation. The iPod is a case
in point. The idea was originally conceived
by Tony Fadell, a consultant Apple hired to
develop new projects. An Apple engineering
team assembled it from off-the-shelf parts and
combined it with in-house design features
such as Apple’s user-friendly controls. Having
generated buy-in along the way, Fadell had
little dif?culty selling the result to senior
In this article we’ll describe how successful
companies identify, groom, and place people
who can master the innovation process. We’ll
begin by considering what sets breakthrough
innovators apart from other star managers.
Jeffrey Cohn (jcohn@spencerstuart
.com) is an expert in leadership assessment and succession planning at
Spencer Stuart in New York. Jon
Katzenbach and Gus Vlak are partners at Katzenbach Partners in New
York. Both Cohn and Katzenbach have
written previously for HBR about leadership and talent management.
What Innovators Look Like
The best innovators have very strong cognitive
abilities, including excellent analytic skills.
They zero in on the most important points
and waste no time on peripheral issues. This
is signi?cant, given the sheer quantity of data,
ideas, and often con?icting customer preferences that they (and all other high-potential
harvard business review • december 2008
managers) must face. Once they have isolated
the key factors, they can quickly see how all
the pieces might ?t together in an integrated
whole. They have the ability to think strategically even in highly ambiguous situations.
But a host of additional attributes distinguish potential innovators. First, they never
rest on their laurels. David Small, corporate
vice president of the Leadership Institute at
McDonald’s, asserts that innovators always
say to themselves, “Just because this has
worked in the past doesn’t mean it will work
going forward.” He adds, “They are driven by
a certain underlying insecurity to not rely
on past success, and they evaluate each new
challenge with a clean slate.” They can frame
and reframe challenges from multiple vantage points and identify which solutions
are likeliest to be embraced by the in?uential
people in their organization. By contrast,
many high-potential managers become overcon?dent after a string of successes and begin
to believe their own performance reviews,
hallway chatter, and other evidence of their
brilliance. They are reluctant to reinvent the
wheel when a speci?c approach has worked
so well in the past.
Second, potential innovators are, as Small
puts it, “ridiculously socially aware of their
surroundings at all times.” At McDonald’s
innovators must be able to walk into a conference room full of diverse constituents, including colleagues, customers, subordinates,
bosses, vendors, and partners, and quickly
discern the underlying motivation of each
one. They leverage that information to craft
and communicate a message that resonates
with every constituent. This is the art of
bringing a diverse group onto the same
page—and it is absolutely essential to transforming an interesting idea into a companywide innovation. “If a high-potential manager
doesn’t have this skill,” Small says, “there is
little chance that he can push a new idea, no
matter how promising, through our sprawling
global infrastructure. It takes a lot of social
intuition, savvy, and tenacity.”
Innovators are persuasive and often charming. They know how to extract information
from speci?c areas of an organization and
then garner organizational support for potential projects. Innovation cannot thrive when
new ideas simply die. Andrew England, of
MillerCoors, explains it this way: “Our most
page 3
This document is authorized for use only in Laureate Education, Inc.’s Fostering a Culture of Innovation – NEW course at Laureate Education – Baltimore, from August 2017 to October 2018.
Finding and Grooming Breakthrough Innovators
successful innovators are able to persuade our
business unit and functional leaders to share
interesting insights and ideas. They are extremely curious and are always shopping for
new ideas, yet they don’t give off an intrusive
vibe. Then, on the ?ip side, our innovators
have to use their sales skills and charm to
push an unproven idea through our corporate
machinery. I can’t overstate how important
and how rare this sales ability is.”
There is, of course, a certain tension between an innovator’s independent mind and
his or her social involvement with colleagues,
but the ability to seamlessly shift between
isolation and a larger group is essential. By
de?nition, an innovator must access resources
and recombine ideas in ways that are unfamiliar to the organization. Doing so means
moving beyond conventional boundaries and
the safety of existing positions, which can be a
lonely experience. At the same time, innovators must be able to bring the knowledge
they have gained back to traditional hierarchies, which can be frustrating. Kaye FosterCheek, the corporate vice president of human
resources at Johnson & Johnson, says these
people have a “unique psychological mix,”
because they are able to work equally well in
large cross-functional teams and in extreme
isolation. “They like being connected to a
greater whole, but by no means do they need
The Dangers of Competency Modeling
Leadership competency models can be
found in virtually all major corporations.
They seek to institutionalize managerial behaviors, knowledge, values, and
motivations to produce steady, predictable results. They provide a common
language to help supervisors and HR
discuss emerging talent in the organization. These are worthy goals—but
overdependence on competency models
inevitably reinforces sameness rather
than unity or cohesion, by eroding the
conditions in which unique points of
view and ultimately innovation itself
can arise.
Training programs built on these
models primarily teach participants
how to manage within the organization
harvard business review • december 2008
as is and emphasize formal structures
at the expense of informal ones. At the
same time, they condition managers to
minimize uncertainty and mitigate risk.
The organizational vetting process
?lters candidates for promotion according to well-known and widely communicated competencies that are ingrained
in the company culture. As a result the
?eld of rising stars narrows to those
who most closely resemble their peers
and bosses. Unique attributes and a
willingness to deviate from the norm,
take real risks, and embrace different
points of view are not cultivated or
integrated. Rather, they are slowly
and methodically squeezed out of the
it,” she says.
How to Find Innovators
In most large organizations, the future innovators we’ve described are hidden from senior
management and deeply embedded in line
jobs. You need to seek them out and at least
temporarily disengage them from their daily
duties. There are various ways to achieve this,
but it takes time.
David Small—an avid golfer—refers to the
effort and resources needed to ?nd potential
innovators at McDonald’s as “mandatory green
fees.” He contends that it takes discipline,
good data, and the right talent-management
processes, embedded in frontline activities
rather than in centralized HR departments, to
surface those rare individuals. McDonald’s
executives comb through individual development plans semiannually, hold talent roundtables and succession planning discussions,
perform talent calibration (to make sure
they are comparing apples to apples, across
divisions, businesses, and even countries), and
conduct systematic performance reviews.
At Reuters (which merged with the Thomson Corporation in April 2008) the initial
mechanism used to identify potential innovators is a “predictive index” survey. Beginning
with a checklist, it helps frontline managers
identify the core drivers, competencies, and
motivations of their subordinates and serves
as the basis for compiling a master list of
rising stars, which can be narrowed to a list
of potential innovators.
Once you’ve spotted the potentials, you
need to determine which ones actually have
the innovator’s spark. Many of the companies
we explored, including Reuters, Pitney Bowes,
and Visa, do this through a series of oneon-one interviews, often conducted by outside assessment and leadership-development
experts. In these interviews candidates are
presented with a series of complex but engaging real-world scenarios from which some key
information is intentionally omitted, to gauge
whether they can weed through ambiguity,
make realistic assumptions based on the data
available, reach a decision, and articulate a
clear, compelling rationale for any trade-offs
involved in it. The process does not stop
there. The candidates are gradually given
additional information. Can he evaluate what
has potential impact and what does not?
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This document is authorized for use only in Laureate Education, Inc.’s Fostering a Culture of Innovation – NEW course at Laureate Education – Baltimore, from August 2017 to October 2018.
Finding and Grooming Breakthrough Innovators
Can she turn that critical eye inward and
change positions when warranted by the
evidence, or does she cling tightly to past
beliefs and mental models? True innovators
never let pride or former success get in the
way of a better solution, no matter where it
originates. And once they receive valuable
new information, they are quick to connect
it to the larger whole. Furthermore, because
potential innovators have strong emotional
intelligence, they always ask for feedback at
the end of the assessment process.
During these interviews Reuters looks for
the ability to clearly and convincingly defend
a decision and sell a point of view. If a candidate cannot argue a case in an intense one-onone interview, in the absence of a supporting
team and infrastructure, it is unlikely that he
or she will ever be able to display the salesmanship and con?dence necessary to move
an innovative idea forward within an organization as complex as Reuters. In a ?nal series
of interviews, candidates must be able to
explain without reservation what they do
badly. According to Amanda West, the chief
innovation of?cer at Thomson Reuters, who
administers this program, “Unless they immediately jump to that answer, their level of
self-awareness is not suf?ciently high for
them to become successful innovators.”
Let Innovators Work with Live
Once identi?ed, potential innovators need to
prove they can recognize promising ideas,
effectively lead cross-functional teams of experts to develop them, and sell them to top
executives. Starwood, the parent company of
hotel chains such as Westin, W, St. Regis,
and Sheraton, provides a good illustration of
how to do this systematically. After identifying
a midlevel product manager as a potential
innovator, Starwood assigned him to lead a
team to develop new in-room entertainment
services in addition to his full-time responsibilities. He had very little leadership experience, but because of a successful track record
within his group, and because his division
head saw in him the attributes of an innovator,
he was given a chance.
The product manager had almost complete freedom to cho …
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