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Top 6 capabilities you need in 2023 to successfully innovate

As we look ahead to the future, navigating the complexities of a rapidly evolving world demands a fresh set of skills and competencies. When you ask your people to be innovative, it's important you provide them with the skills they need to do a good job.

By focusing on developing innovation muscle, these 6 capabilities help your organisation to be well equipped to drive meaningful innovation and adaptation in today’s world.

Strategic Thinking and Visioning

Leaders must be able to envision plausible futures and craft strategic plans to navigate uncertainty. This involves thinking long-term while also remaining adaptive. Teams need training in tools like scenario planning to strengthen their strategic thinking muscles. Clarifying your organisational vision will also guide innovative efforts that align with your mission.

Leading Change and People Development

To innovate is to drive change, so your team must be equipped to lead and manage change. Capabilities like change management, coaching, and conflict resolution are crucial. Leaders also need to foster an environment where people can grow into new roles and expand their skills. Invest in leadership development programs, further education, and rotational assignments to continuously develop your talent.

Collaboration and Co-Design

Large problems require collective solutions that’s why collaboration is one key important characteristic. Train your teams in co-design, systems thinking, and stakeholder engagement. These allow for the creation of innovative solutions through genuine partnership. People should understand how to effectively engage clients, community partners, and other organisations to tackle challenges together.

Creativity and Idea Generation

Don't forget to nurture creativity itself. Leaders must make space for idea incubation, prototyping, and experimentation. Foster a culture where people are encouraged to take risks and think outside the box. Use tools like design thinking, brainstorming, and creative confidence training. Recognize and reward innovative ideas that don't always work out as planned.

Evaluation and Storytelling

Determine what's working and what isn't through rigorous evaluation. Teach methods like outcome harvesting, social return on investment analysis and theory of change development. Storytelling is also critical for sharing lessons, celebrating wins, and gaining buy-in for new ideas. Invest in communication and narrative skills.

Technology and Digital Transformation

Upskill teams on digital tools, technology, and platforms that can enhance service delivery, stakeholder engagement and internal workflows. Aim to adopt a culture of continuous learning when it comes to new technologies with control and best practices.

As we've explored the top six capabilities needed for successful innovation, it's clear that investing in these areas can drive meaningful change and growth. Which of these capabilities do you see as most critical for your team's success, and what steps will you take to cultivate them? 

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