Championing Innovation: Leadership Approaches for Fostering Innovative Environments

  • James Skinner
  • Aaron C. T. Smith
  • Steve Swanson


This chapter outlines how leadership is integral in the process of developing cultures where creativity thrives and innovations continually emerge. The chapter provides a variety of lenses to view leadership’s role in this process. It notes that there is no one way to lead for this type of environment; however, there are certain leadership approaches which may be more conducive to innovation than others. This will depend on the leader’s inherent qualities and beliefs, and the context and situations in which leadership is present. Due to the fluid nature of the innovation process, effective leadership will instead need to embrace a more flexible mentality. The chapter suggests that sustainable innovative environments do not tend to happen organically. Instead, they are championed by a leader or group of leaders who value this as a key characteristic of a thriving organisation. Leaders who value innovation understand that without embedding a culture of idea creation and the pursuit of operational enhancements, a competitive advantage is lost, and the competition will inevitably win out. This chapter concludes that while effectively managing day-to-day operations is an essential component of business, the role of leadership is to establish a direction. It is therefore leadership that sets the tone for innovation, through clearly signalling its importance to organisational members, and leading in a way which can optimally facilitate its presence and effectiveness.


Leadership Sustainability Fluid Environment Situational 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Skinner
    • 1
  • Aaron C. T. Smith
    • 1
  • Steve Swanson
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Sport BusinessLoughborough University LondonLondonUK

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