Innovations do not take place everywhere because requirements for innovations are not found to be present everywhere. In my opinion, for innovations to take place, the following are the basic requirements:
a) Innovative Mind-set;
b) Just and democratic environment for cross-fertilization of ideas;
c) Demand for innovation;
d) Collaborative supporter; and
a) Innovative Mind-set
We cannot have an assembly of people with average mind-sets and expect innovations out of them. For innovation, we require individuals who have independent ways of looking at things. Such people usually believe that perfection can be approximated – not achieved, acknowledging thereby the scope for improvement in thoughts and outcomes already achieved in society. They are habitually inquisitive for unearthing exact reasons behind any happening around, including chance happenings. They are also very sensitive about deficiencies in happenings or things around and quick enough to respond to these for bringing necessary changes. Since these people are always ahead of their times, they are quite often misunderstood by majority in the society. In sum, these are people with exceptional inborn qualities and therefore capable of ushering in betterment for the society.
b) Just and democratic environment for cross-fertilization of ideas
While it is acknowledged that innovative people have inborn qualities, they cannot however fully realize their potentials unless, coincidentally or deliberately, put in an environment which is not only democratic but also just, for cross-fertilization of ideas. Because, innovative people from different socio-cultural backgrounds coming together generally tend to approach to resolve a problem from different perspectives resulting in cross-fertilization of ideas – which invariably results in a better or improvised way for resolving the problem. Since perfection can only be approximated and there is always a scope for further improvement in thoughts and outcomes already achieved, this process of innovation and improvement for anything also becomes a continuity over time.
c) Demand for innovation
We may have an assembly of innovative people in a just and democratic environment, but recognition to innovation will take place only in favour of those cases for which there exist an immediate social demand – higher the demand or challenge, higher is the status of recognition. History is full of evidences when the person who originally picked up the thread or did some innovative works remained unnoticed or unrecognized, simply because he/she initiated that kind of thought or action for which there was not much of social demand – be it in cases of Leucippus and Democritus around 5th Century B.C. (regarding the concept of an atom) or William Morrison towards the late 19 th century (regarding manufacturing of an electric car). So, it is very essential for the innovative people to focus their energies to those areas where there are challenging social demands and they, in their own interests, should also think for building institutions which would filter authentic information about the pressing and challenging innovative requirements of the society – which I do not think is so well-institutionalized globally as yet.
d) Collaborative support
Even availability of people with innovative mind-sets, cross-fertilization of ideas and correct understanding on pressing innovative requirements of society, shall not be of much help for innovations to take place unless these are supported, coincidentally or deliberately, by institutions or individuals. More often than not these are ideal situations and therefore may not have a globally uniform pattern. We may not be able to say with certainty as to whether the first commercially successful steam engine would have been possible at that point of time in history had Matthew Boulton not come forward to help James Watt or breakthrough on nuclear fission would have happened at that point of time if Lise Meitner had not come forward to join hands with Otto Hahn (and if Hahn also did not support financially Meitner by sharing his salary, especially when the later was yet to get a paid job) , and so on.
Notwithstanding the tremendous advancement in our stock of knowledge about management as a subject in totality, we still cannot vouch on situational outcomes due to variations in the quality of leadership. The role of leadership has always been important in overall development of society and shall continue to be so in future. The ideal qualities of a leader for innovative team-works, as I understand, may be as stated below.
Firstly, the leader should have a highly acknowledged scientific mind-set, so much so that he/she could have the patience to listen to even an apparently mundane view of another member of his/her team, so that the culture of inquisitiveness could be maintained at the highest level.
Secondly, wherever required, the leader should have the capacity to support an apparently correct view-point of a team-mate which might differ from the rest and/or who in general used to be most critical about his/her leadership; unless, after serious debates and discussions, the opposite was proved to be correct or a better solution.
Thirdly, the leader should be a person of unimpeachable integrity who, wherever required, always believed in highlighting extraordinary contributions of one or more members of his/her team in making a venture successful, preferring at the same time not to mention anything about himself/herself even when he/she had contributed the most!
Fourthly, it is preferable that the leader had much higher grasps on the subject(s) so much so that he/she never suffered from any sense of intellectual insecurity within as well as outside the team; and could attend most questions from his/her team-mates as well as others instantly and in professionally accurate manner.
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