In a world where constant technological innovations shape the various facets of society, it is essential for firms to continually look at ways through which it can enhance its overall value to both internal and external stakeholders. …
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It can be said that this examination combines the intensive studies on industry, competitive, and consumers with the detailed understanding of business processes. The linearity of thinking in most firms often lead to backwardness, and this is definitely an issue in a market where customer tastes and preferences change by the minute, and where competition comes from the most unconventional areas with the most uncommon tools and strategies. Thus, there is a need to put the very essence of innovation—of forward and radical thinking—into the business strategy to triumph in this kind of business environment. Although drafting the core business strategies can be coherently and clearly done by top management, applying these innovative practices in current business operations is where the problem lies. Thus, leadership becomes an important value that stakeholders from all areas (top management to low level employees) must adopt and practice. In this regard, this paper is to be divided into three parts. The first part looks intensively at the core concepts of strategic innovation in order to better understand it in principle and in practice. The second part identifies the essence of leadership and how it helps in driving innovation strategies. The last part synthesizes all the gathered observations in order to justify this paper’s thesis that effective leadership drives strategic innovation by influencing and empowering the firm’s enablers of innovation. I. Strategic Innovation In this part, we intend to examine the nature of strategic innovation by looking at its definition and conceptual implications. Then, we intensively discuss the seven dimensions that drive strategic innovation in a firm. A. Definition of Strategic Innovation Strategic innovation is a holistic and systematic business approach that focuses on creating intentional and repeatable processes to enhance the value provided by the firm to its stakeholders (Palmer & Kaplan, n.d.). As a result of these initiatives, strategic innovation is able to generate new business practices that can facilitate growth opportunities for the firm. In order to enhance our understanding of strategic innovation, it is wise to compare its primary attributes with those of traditional business approach. Firstly, it can be said that strategic innovation starts with the identification of the long-term goals of the firm. This is entirely different from the traditional approach that uses the present state of the firm to guide its business directions. Secondly, unlike the traditional approach that assumes a rule-maker (defensive) or rule-taker (follower) posture, strategic innovation assumes a rule-breaker (revolutionary) posture. Thirdly, strategic innovation seeks to create a new competitive space or a ‘blue ocean’ while traditional approach accepts the business boundaries or product categories. Lastly, unlike traditional approach that follows linear business planning models, strategic innovation marries process discipline with creative inspiration. B. Seven Dimensions of Strategic Innovation Now that we know the fundamental differences between traditional approach and strategic innovation approach, let us now focus on the seven dimensions that constitute this strategic innovation. In summary, the seven dimensions are comprised of: (1) managed innovation process that combines traditional and non-traditional approaches to business strategy; (2) strategic alignment to build support from vital stakeholders; (3) industry foresight that underscores emerging trends; (4) consumer insight which builds a holistic view of the consumer’
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