The world’s most innovative leaders have proved to be extraordinary “social seismologists.” They have shown a rare ability to detect tidal shifts in the world order long before such harbingers are recognized by lesser leaders.
Years before the introductions of Facebook and Twitter, Bill Gates was predicting something called “social media,” a concept that many could not grasp at the time. Ted Turner envisioned a cable news network that operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week, never signing off. As a result, CNN completely changed news consumption forever. Joan Ganz Cooney envisioned a children’s educational television show that would harness the addictiveness of the tube to engage youngsters in a new way. Subsequently, millions of children learned to read and count from Sesame Street, changing America’s concepts of preschool learning and online education.
The renowned leaders of the digital economy have grown massively successful companies from seeds born on the winds of change. Steve Jobs transformed desktops into laptops and mobile phones into encyclopedia/mapping/photography/communication devices. Jeff Bezos brought information and products literally to the fingertips of shoppers with the Amazon concept and its new delivery models. Elon Musk and Richard Branson challenged the idea of space travel as the exclusive purview of government agencies, potentially opening space frontiers to everyone.
More recently, both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders recognized a huge and unanticipated shift among the electorate, one in which the conventional platforms of political parties no longer matched large segments of constituents. Both ran innovative campaigns, with Trump poised to blow apart a Republican party massed against him and Sanders attracting millions of donors and voters with his call for a political revolution.
Those who are among the first to understand the economic and social impact of cultural and technological upheavals invariably succeed in building brands of innovation. Identifying such leaders often is difficult, but I have delineated five characteristics that all winning innovators possess.
To explore these traits, Essentials for Building a Brand of Innovation, view my video that summarizes these characteristics, accessible below.
This video lays out the beginnings of a blueprint for discovering and attracting innovative leaders to your organization.