Transforming big-picture ideals into pioneering action


In an ever-evolving world the old eventually has to make room for the new. But that rarely happens as gracefully as it does in nature. We humans are creatures of habit and vested interests make it hard to let go. Even if circumstances are not in our favor.

Innovation Leaders have to go boldly where no (wo)man has gone before. As you can only make a difference in the market place of real life, innovative ideas have to be followed-up by equally innovative action. Someone has to show that the radically new is really possible.

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Don't be afraid to be an outlier

Innovation Leaders are not afraid to be an outlier, but not to the point of being a rebel for the sake of rebellion itself. Their pioneering actions are directed at a discontinuous improvement of the status quo, a.k.a. innovation.

Example: Creativity profile

Innovation Leaders stand up for what they believe can be done. This always requires taking action beyond accepted norms and so they understand that sometimes it really is better to ask for forgiveness, than for permission.


Capability factors


Global Orientation

Global Orientation - conscious of where you stand in relation to global developments.

Gone are the days when you could happily ignore what is happening on the other side of the planet. A Chinese butterfly flapping its wings, can create a European hurricane in no time. Global orientation is essential for recognizing all that's relevant.


Individual Direction

Individual Direction - a strong goal orientation coming from a clear inner compass and a healthy dose of independence.

The mainstream possesses a strong current and keeping your course on a stormy sea isn't easy. You need a strong inner orientation and self-directed energy to realize something out of the ordinary. 

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Pioneering Action

Pioneering Action - taking action beyond the accepted norm to create fundamental change.

To be truly innovative, you have to be prepared to do things fundamentally different from your peers. And to go at it with all you've got, because resistance will never be far away. Innovation Leaders have to take initiative and take great personal risk. It is not for the fainthearted nor for security seekers.

International example

When talking about Innovation Leaders there is hardly anyone more exemplary than the late Steve Jobs from Apple. His story is well known, as is his legacy of wonderful innovations and one of the most profitable and infuential companies worldwide.

His innovative capability is unmistakable and all three Capability factors were more than present in his persona. His Global orientation regarding the computer industry and how to transcend accepted boundaries, e.g. with the introduction of I-tunes, was exceptional.  

His Individual direction and affinity for Pioneering Action were equally strong, as he was going against many grains during his life. Reputedly he was not the easiest man to work with, very single minded. Both within the company, but also in stating that the customer doesn't know what he wants. This shows that real progression sometimes requires being unreasonable.

National example

Joke Tillemans is the founder and director of Mondomijn, an integrated child center where most of the notions what a school should look like, have been discarded. The individual child and its unique development potential is placed front and center. Teachers have been replaced by mentors and the social-emotional development of the child is at the heart of everything that happens at Mondomijn.

The school is a success for the children, parents and personnel and earned official  recognition by receiving the 'Excellent School' label from the Education Inspection.

An in-depth interview with Joke on her lessons learned and her Innovation Leadership Assessment, can be read here (in Dutch). 

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