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Superpowers for Innovation Leadership


In the Life of Pi a wonderful book by Yann Martel, the protagonist invented a Tiger to survive the long arduous journey in a lifeboat after the ship he was on sank. Living with the Tiger in a tiny space became the key to Pi’s survival and helped give him the endurance to survive at sea for so long. Both Pi and the tiger had to come to terms with their own vulnerability on that boat as they took their perilous journey across the great wide ocean. Many metaphors arise out of this for innovation strategy. From taking judicious risks, following your curiosity, showing grit and versatility, to even seeking unconventional partners. In last month’s webinar we explored curiosity, courage and vulnerability as key attributes leaders might adopt to enable innovation through the Year of The Tiger. Here are some thoughts to consider: 1. Be curious and open to new possibilities. What fresh possibilities can you and your team envisage for the year to come? Genuinely listen to others and empathize with their points of view, their needs and goal and what is getting in their way. Tip: Be open to trying things out of the ordinary. In short, seek the extraordinary.

2. Be courageous in the difficult tasks of guiding, conducting and catalyzing others to take ownership of innovative outcomes. Courage as a leader is about creating the conditions for others to find their way through the dark and to let go of the eventual outcome. This does not mean to mow down everything in front of you or force a point of view.

Tip: Allow teamwork to bring about positive change through shared understanding.

3. Be vulnerable. In her book, Daring Greatly, Brené Brown describes vulnerability as "uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure." It's that unstable feeling we get when we step out of our comfort zone or do something that forces us to loosen control. So, herein lies the secret to success as a leader. You may be surprised how others might step into the gap to fulfill that space.

Tip: Be willing to give of yourself and to reveal your fears and limitations

How do these attributes or superpowers relate: Dr Brown says that:, "Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity."

In a world short of Empathy and where customer centred focus is necessary to differentiate, where the “great resignation” has become a trend, being vulnerable in relation to your colleagues’, your customers’ and to the needs of society may be the key to a preferred more sustainable future. In other words, allow yourself (and your teams) to be open to uncertainty for new future possibilities to transpire.

Now, as we move into the month of March we are going to expand on what the relationship between innovation leadership and entrepreneurship. In a world where war is raising its ugly head, how do we humanize society, be more humane and environmentally centred as we strive for equilibrium.

Best regards,



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