Multiplication Center

The 5 Crucial Discovery Skills of Innovative Leaders

January 15, 2015


Pioneering leaders understand the ability to innovate is the “secret sauce” of organizational success.  This is true whether you’re a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, an inventor, or a co-founder of a start-up.  But few of us really understand what makes one leader more creative or innovative than another.  Is it something you’re born with?  Is it a skill you can develop?

InnovatorsDNAIn an attempt to answer these (and other) questions, authors of the book The Innovators DNA studied the habits of 25 innovative entrepreneurs and surveyed more than 3,000 executives and 500 individuals who had started innovative companies or invented new products.  They learned that at most companies, top executives do not feel personally responsible for coming up with strategic innovations. Rather, they feel responsible for facilitating the innovation process. On the surface that sounds right, doesn’t it?  However, in stark contrast to the more popular mindset, senior executives of the most innovative companies—a mere 15% in the study, it turns out—don’t delegate creative work. They do it themselves.  The million dollar question is: How?

The research led to the identification of five “discovery skills” that distinguish the most creative leaders from the rest of the pack.  In addition, the authors found that innovative entrepreneurs (who are also CEOs) spend 50% more time on these discovery activities than do CEOs with no track record for innovation. Together, these skills make up what has been coined “The Innovator’s DNA”. And probably the best news of all: if you’re not born with it, you can cultivate it.

What About Innovative Church Leaders?

Our work with innovative church leaders over the past 30 years mirrors these findings.  We have witnessed how these same five discovery skills serve as a strategic foundation for senior leaders in many of our largest and fastest growing churches.  And the belief that these skills can be shared, learned, and cultivated has shaped the environments and experiences we have created over the past three decades.  That same belief continues to shape our new experiences that will launch this year.

Over the next few weeks we’ll share an overview of each of these five discovery skills, as well as examples of how we’ve seen these skills at work in the leaders we’ve served:

  • Associating
  • Questioning
  • Observing
  • Experimenting
  • Networking

We’ll also share some of the opportunities that are available to help you and your team sharpen these skills in order to accelerate and multiply your Kingdom impact.

How Can My Team Become More Innovative?

One of our new experiences for 2015 has been developed with Kingdom innovation in mind.  We’re calling it “HUB”.  A ‘hub’ is defined as “the effective center of an activity.”  Our belief is that HUB will become the effective center of innovation for high impact church leaders.  HUB is where you and your team can gather with expert thinkers and experienced practitioners to exchange ideas, gain insights, and accelerate results.  If you’re looking to sharpen your focus, clarify your thinking, and accelerate Kingdom impact, HUB is for you.  Click the image below to learn more.


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