An entrepreneurial business leader is one who organizes and motivates a group of individuals to accomplish a particular objective through innovation, capitalizing on opportunities, risk optimization, and managing the dynamic organization environment. Innovation culture refers to the work surroundings that a leader cultivates in order to nurture unconventional thinking and its application. Workplaces that promote a culture of innovation subscribe to the notion that innovation is not the province of the top leadership but can emerge from anyone within the organization. Leadership is important in entrepreneurship as through it, a direction of a company or business is defined.
A leader ensures that every person is working and contributing toward the same goals and objectives. The aim of this paper is to discuss maintaining an innovation culture in an organization is one of the biggest challenges facing entrepreneurial business leaders.
Entrepreneurship is the engine that inspires a business leader to see new opportunities and take advantage of them. It is important for the growth of the economy, the creation of jobs, and the improvement of quality of life while adapting to modern societal needs. Innovative entrepreneurship can offer ideas that assist in growing new and existing businesses, develop products to enhance local communities and encourage change to better customer experiences (Davies and Buisine, 2018, p. 105). Innovation is a key component of successful companies, and thus, it is beneficial to comprehend what it entails (Davies and Buisine, 2018, p. 105).
It is concerned with ensuring that any new and creative ideas within an organization are properly scrutinized and applied for the benefit of the business. Maintaining such an environment at work is one of the biggest challenges, as not everyone is ready for the tasks (Davies and Buisine, 2018, p. 106). However, it can be accomplished when one identifies the ways through which to encourage an individual or small group to channel their creative energy and drive to make something new.
Innovation as a corporate value refers to creation of a culture where all employees feel that they have some level of autonomy to think independently and discover novel ways of solving issues. A great leader makes smart decisions, but they as well understand that they cannot do everything by themselves (Guerrero and Urbano, 2019, p. 108). Leading is about mentoring, trusting, listening and empowering a team. An established organization is one where renewal comes through stimulating as well as enabling the same drive and creativity (Guerrero and Urbano, 2019, p. 108). The expectation is that people will be able to deliver a stream of improvement innovations and the occasionally inspired leap which aids in reinventing the business.
Social entrepreneurship, a process by which people, startups, and entrepreneurs develop and find solutions that address social issues, uses the same principle. A social entrepreneur is thus an individual who explores business opportunities that have a positive influence on society, community, or the world. All types of entrepreneurs have the same characteristics with regard to how they approach work. For instance, they embrace a multifaceted approach to innovation (Guerrero and Urbano, 2019, p. 110).
They usually view innovation as a procedure that occurs in brainstorming sessions about irresistible new products where someone develops creative marketing campaigns to launch and sell them. A multifaceted approach means viewing innovation in four steps, including profit models, products, processes, and policies. Breaking it into factions and dealing with them as individual challenges will enable a business leader to move quickly and with more operational agility.
Innovation happens against a backdrop of increasing concern about sustainability in terms of energy, resources and meeting basic human needs in a more balanced and better-distributed fashion. It is critical for the survival and growth of a company. A firm that does not innovate falls behind the competition and is eventually out of business (Petraite, 2020, p. 85). Conventional innovation forms may lead to profitable products, processes, and services. However, they may as well cause harm to employees or over-exploitation of natural resources. An example is the capsule coffee machine which lets people have high-quality coffee while at their homes simply by touching a button. They are popular, and about forty percent of coffee drinkers in the United States own one.
However, the result is that it has led to the pollution of the environment as more than twenty thousand plastic capsules find their way to landfill sites. Sustainable innovation aims to address those unintended social as well as environmental effects (Petraite, 2020, p. 86). It implies that organizations can offer products and services that are good for themselves and society in the long haul. It involves making intentional alterations or modifications to a firm’s products, services, and processes to generate long-lasting social and environmental benefits whereas creating profits for the business.
Through sustainable innovation, a company can invent and provide new products and services that directly contribute to accomplishing sustainability. For instance, Bio-bean, a British company, developed an environmental-friendly biofuel from coffee to aid in providing power for the double-decker buses in London (Petraite, 2020, p. 86). It upcycles spent coffee grounds into eco-friendly products such as coffee pellets and logs, which are alternatives to carbon-heavy fuels. It uses materials previously regarded as waste and, thus, contributes to a circular economy. Some of the core features of sustainable innovation that entrepreneurial business leaders should learn about include its ability to contribute to sustainable businesses, require systems thinking and embedded into the company’s culture.
Sustainable innovation is known to be a contributing factor to sustainable businesses. It targets to satisfy the needs of current generation without jeopardizing the future generation’s needs. It requires a business to actively integrate matters such as climate and human rights into its innovation processes (Petraite, 2020, p. 87). A company that engages in sustainable innovation goes beyond seeking profits in the short term. They think long-term, that is, concerning investing in technologies and people for future purposes.
In order to adopt sustainable innovation, it requires system thinking from a company. When a business engages in sustainable innovation, it does not focus on itself. Rather, it develops a broad approach to the entire system of which it is part, for instance, the natural environment, communities, and stakeholders (Petraite, 2020, p. 87). They have a great comprehension of the way their actions impact other organizations and vice versa.
Lastly, sustainable innovation must be integrated into the business culture. Unlike the conventional forms of innovation, this type of innovation has a greater chance of success when it is embedded into the firm’s culture. In traditional innovations, companies separate the research and development department from the innovations (Petraite, 2020, p. 88). When sustainability is made part of the corporate culture, pursuing short-term profits kills sustainability-centred creative ideologies without offering them an adequate time to mature.
Understanding the Status Quo
In order to guarantee the development of an innovation culture within an organization, it is important to do research and understand the organization. This can be done by interviewing the employees at the company and gauging whether or not they would embrace particular changes. This would provide insight into how new ideas can be received in general in the organization (Ronquillo, Popa, and Willems, 2021, p. 1128). Choosing to implement novel ways of operations in a firm without properly engaging the employees would cause resistance. It is common for humans to be uncertain about change when it is first introduced to them. The solution to this is trying to understand the current situation and why it exists.
The Bottom-Up Approach toward Cultural Change
After understanding the status quo, a leader can bring change to the culture of a firm by empowering employees. Normally, it is thought that to bring change, it must come from the top leaders in the organization. However, this limits the scope or ability to expand as the individuals who understand system operations are the ones who can explain what needs to change. Similarly to how Google encourages its employees to share ideas with the organization, it is proper to involve the lower-level employees in the innovation culture cultivation steps (Ronquillo, Popa, and Willems, 2021, p. 1130). When they start seeing that their ideas are considered and even implemented for the betterment of the company, it creates an urge to continue doing the same. Ultimately, the leader is able to create and maintain an innovation culture in the company.
Communication, Measuring, Learning and Iterating
Data is regarded as one of the most important resources in a company. It can only transfer from one person to another in an organization when there are clear communication channels. This means that part of the work of a leader is ensuring that communication is made easier in the business (Ronquillo, Popa, and Willems, 2021, p. 1131). The result of this is that it would guarantee that everyone in the firm understands what needs to be done and how it will be achieved. After finding new ways of conducting specific processes, it is important to relay information to all stakeholders to ensure that everyone is aiming for the same goals and objectives.
After the implementation of the new processes, it is essential that the leader develops ways to measure success. This can be through determining which goals and objectives have been met. It is not guaranteed that in the first year, every set goal will be achieved (Ronquillo, Popa, and Willems, 2021, p. 1131). However, this offers a chance to learn and understand where to improve while planning for the following year. Lastly, to ensure consistency, the processes must be iterated after enhancement.
Example of an Effective Leader
The leadership style of Elon Musk is transformational since he focuses on innovation as well as accomplishing large-scale objectives. Someone’s leadership style is the way they lead themselves and others on a team (Yauney, 2018, p. 4). There are different approaches to leading, and all have different characteristics, advantages, or disadvantages (Yauney, 2018, p. 4). Whereas an individual can display traits in every style, it is common for one to exhibit dominance in a specific style. The strengths of transformational leaders are that they are innovative thinkers, they embrace problem-solving strategy execution, and analysis (Yauney, 2018, p. 4). They do not wait for the world to change but make plans and inspire others to join them to ensure they attain their vision.
Elon Musk displays similar traits to Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, and Reed Hastings. He believes that process limits the ability for innovation to happen. In most cases, constant formal education can negatively affect someone as it affects creativity. Without the latter, progress, as well as innovation, are difficult to achieve. An example of eliminating the process is direct communication with Tesla (Yauney, 2018, p. 4). Musk encourages his employees at any level to share information directly, which means he has eliminated the hierarchy of the flow of data and enabled the growth of creative ideas.
The paper has discussed innovation culture and how an entrepreneurial business leader can achieve it. Innovation culture entails a work surrounding that is established by a leader for the purpose of nurturing non-traditional thinking and its use. Work environments that allow employees to be innovative, support the view that every stakeholder of the company deserves a platform to speak about their ideas. Usually, it is believed that in order to cause change, a top leader in an organization must be involved or be the one who initiated that alteration.
However, has been seen to limit the ability to expand as lower-level employees are the ones who possess a complete understanding of the system operations. Therefore, it is easier for them to identify what needs changing. Similarly, Google has created an innovation culture where workers share ideas with leadership. It is important that organizational management involves the employees in steps toward a change of operations. At Tesla, Elon Musk has established a direct communication channel that enables his employees to relay information directly to him. The approach eliminates the hierarchy issues in the flow of data.
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