Innovative Companies Demand Innovative Leaders

Extracted 09AUG2011 from

by Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen, and Clayton Christensen

During our study we learned that a leader's everyday actions are one of the most powerful signals to their team and organization that innovation truly matters...

Leaders at companies with high innovation premiums, in fact, landed at about the 88th percentile on our Innovator's DNA assessment, which measures the five skills of disruptive innovators: questioning, observing, networking, experimenting, and associational thinking. CEOs of average companies, in comparison, scored at about the 68th percentile. Because disruptive leaders excelled at the Innovator's DNA skills, they valued the same skills in other people. So much so that others within the organization felt that reaching top executive positions required personal innovation capability. This expectation helped foster an innovation focus throughout the company...

As the data suggests, top executives who value innovation need to point their fingers not at others but themselves. They must lead the innovation charge by understanding how innovation works, improving their own discovery skills, and sharpening their ability to foster the innovation of others. Moreover, they must actively populate their organizations with enough discovery-driven innovators to make innovation a team game that translates into tangible and sustainable innovation premiums.


Gary Riccio

As a partner and as a consultant, I deliver value by identifying, aggregating, and developing previously undervalued assets--people and systems, internal and external, public and private, scientific and technical--for exceptional impact.