What do we, as leaders, need to do to scale innovation?

From the C21 Canada ~ Shifting Minds 3.0 document, ‘Redefining the Learning Landscape in Canada’:

As stated above, “The transformative view is that learning is a social process…” Later in the document,

“There is no doubt that innovation is disruptive. But the disruption can uncover the policy or practice that needs to change to enable an innovation to flourish. Social innovation concepts and complexity theories can help to frame the problems and point toward workable solutions. Frances Westley, a leading Canadian scholar, defines social innovation this way:

Social innovation is an initiative, product, process or program that profoundly changes the basic routines, resource, and authority flows or beliefs of any social system. Successful social innovations have durability and broad impact.”

What are we doing to Scale Up and Scale Out? 

By nature of what needs to happen, we will need to embrace experimentation and embrace multiple iterations and an acceptance that some things we try will not work. Trying new ideas, embracing self, peer and outside feedback, and being flexible and responsive will be key to scaling out and scaling up. 

A model like this explicitly places expectations that leadership, and support by leaders, is key in developing sustainable transformation through innovative practices. Innovation can happen in pockets, but it won’t scale without a system level effort to support, and remove barriers from, innovative practices happening on a larger scale. 

Transformation is a social process and being innovative involves co-designing our new practices at all levels. More than ever, leaders at all levels need to be collaborative and create a climate of support that encourages an openness to challenging practices (and policies) that may not encourage iterations, and learning from mistakes. How do we spread innovation that is desirable? How do we encourage and support useful system-wide changes?

What are we doing to scale out and scale up? 


Also published on Medium.