top of page

Unlocking the Power of Innovativeness in Small and Medium-sized Businesses: A Guide for Leaders (Part 1 of 3)

Updated: Apr 17


Unlocking the power of innovativeness is crucial for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) looking to stay competitive in today's dynamic marketplace. The Innovativeness Leadership Framework, a comprehensive approach to fostering a culture of innovation, provides SMB leaders with the tools and guidance they need to drive their organizations forward.

The Framework provides SMB leaders with a blueprint of the structural elements of a culture of innovativeness. Similar to innovativeness, culture is an abstract intangible that substantially affects people in and outside an organization. The practical side of the Framework involves the principles that the leaders exhibit daily, the tools that leaders and employees leverage to express their internal innovativeness, and the customer and employee experiences that serve as both yardsticks and regulators of the innovativeness by the people in the organization.

In addition to the practical side of the Framework, there are theoretical aspects that also provide leaders with a deeper understanding of how the elements of the practical side should function and how they are governed in a culture of innovativeness. Because the theoretical aspects of the framework overlap they provide ample coverage for each of the practical elements. Moreover, the overlapping theoretical aspects provide a comprehensive view of a culture of innovativeness that SMB leaders can reference in their innovation journey.

This post explains both the practical elements and theoretical aspects of the Innovativeness Leadership Framework. Additionally, this post provides leaders with additional resources to shape the culture and drive innovativeness in their organization.

The Innovativeness Leadership Framework

A Practical Approach to Establishing a Culture of Innovativeness

The Innovativeness Leadership Framework combines a theoretical view of an organization with a practical approach to establishing and sustaining an innovative culture. At its core, this framework is shaped by the principles, tools, and the people who enforce and use them.

This article provides insights into building a culture of originality, aligning with the principles of the Innovativeness Leadership Framework. The heart of the Innovativeness Leadership Framework lies in its organizational principles, the tools used in its operation, and, most importantly, the people. These people aren't just limited to the leaders but include every individual that forms the organization.

The Role of Leaders in Shaping Organizational Culture

Leaders play a pivotal role in shaping an organization's culture. Their words, actions, and silence can either fuel or extinguish the fire of creativity and open-mindedness within their teams. Leaders have the power to balance the focus on current operations with an openness to new ideas.

Forbes discusses how leaders shape organizational culture, a key aspect highlighted in your post.

Understanding Innovativeness

Defining and Harnessing the Power of New Ideas

Innovativeness, at the heart of this framework, is the quality within an organization that allows it to generate new ideas for products and/or services that can be commercialized.

This article provides additional perspectives on defining and driving innovativeness within an organization.

The Importance of a Culture of Innovation

A culture of innovation, driven by a leader's moral and ethical code integrated with that of the people within the organization, is key to applying and executing innovativeness to the benefit of all stakeholders.

McKinsey offers insights into the essentials of innovation, supporting the importance of a culture of innovation in your post.

The Moral and Ethical Code of Leaders

Integrating Principles and People in Driving Innovativeness

Leadership is not just about setting the direction but about integrating principles and people in driving innovativeness. This dynamic balance requires careful management, akin to holding fire and ice in a single container.

This HBR article delves into the importance of ethical leadership, aligning with the moral and ethical code of leaders in your framework.

The Complex Leadership Theory

Balancing Focus on Current Operations with Open-Mindedness to New Ideas

The Complex Leadership Theory describes the challenge of balancing a focus on current operations with an openness to new ideas. Leaders must manage these often counterintuitive forces without extinguishing creativity.

Adaptive leadership within the Innovativeness Leadership Framework leverages Complexity Leadership Theory to guide organizations in embracing change, fostering a culture of innovation, and effectively managing the complexity inherent in the pursuit of continuous improvement and creativity.

The Innovative Behavior Model

Applying Individual and Group Activities for Advantageous Novelty

The Innovative Behavior Model provides a theoretical perspective on all individual or group activities aimed at creating, pioneering, and employing advantageous novelty at any organizational level.

This article shows how stimulating employees’ innovative behavior (EIB) becomes the basis for building sustainable competitive advantage in organizations.

New Service Development

Organizing Resources for Efficient Processes and Customer Engagement

New Service Development theory is an approach to organizing internal resources and capabilities in a manner that focuses on efficient processes, engagement activities, and collaboration.

This article describes the differences between new services development, research, and innovation in the professional services space.

Service Design

Shaping Customer Experiences and Solving Problems

Service Design theory informs firm innovativeness as it utilizes contextual factors to shape interfaces between firms’ competencies, resources, and customers. It is primarily concerned with the practical development of customer experiences.

Service design is a tool used to create service innovation as well as innovation in service organizations.

Use the platform to Map the internal actions, processes, and people needed to support a customer journey – all in the same system.

Applying the Theoretical Models

Overlapping Models for People, Principles, and Tools

The Innovative Behavior Model, Service Design, and New Service Development theories are overlapping models that cover people (represented by the customer and employee experiences), principles (represented by the leadership of the organization), and tools (represented by the innovativeness of the organization).

SMB leaders can use the Framework to identify specific areas of the culture that need additional focus or simply as a reminder of the interconnectedness between the practical elements and interdependencies between the theoretical aspects of the culture.

BONUS: When thinking about how these fancy theories can help your business, here's the deal: the Innovative behavior model is like your all-in-one tool, fitting into every nook and cranny of your business strategy. Now, the Service Design and New Service Development theories are a bit like two buddies – they cover 'People' (your customers and employees) and 'Principles' (your leadership style).

Now, the cool part is that these buddies, the Service Design and New Service Development theories, team up when it comes to 'Tools' – that's the Innovativeness of your organization. They both agree that having a smart plan to organize and manage your resources, both inside and outside the company, is the key to success. It's like having a blueprint for making things work smoothly.

So, long story short, these theories are like your business superheroes, helping you be creative, organize things better, and keep everyone happy – both inside and outside your company. Cool, right?


Embracing Innovativeness to Drive Organizational Success

Embracing innovativeness is essential for driving organizational success. The Innovativeness Leadership Framework offers a comprehensive approach to fostering a culture of innovation and propelling organizations toward success.

It is based on three practical elements of any culture; principles, tools, and people. These elements are the essence of the framework architecture, which are leadership, innovativeness, and the experiences of customers and employees.

The framework is further solidified by the three theoretical aspects of Innovative Behavior, New Service Development, and Service Design. Innovative Behavior accounts for all tasks and resources used to create innovations in an organization which encompasses all the practical elements. Further New Service Development takes an architectural approach to efficiently organizing internal resources and capabilities which relates to the managing of people and usage of the tools to generate commercially viable innovations. Lastly, Service Design is a subset of Design Thinking that focuses on research, ideation, testing, and delivery. This aspect is related to the experiences that will be enjoyed by customers as well as employees.

Schedule a Strategy Session for Your 2024 Strategic Planning

Looking to unlock the full potential of innovativeness in your organization? Check out our website to learn more and schedule a strategy session to get your 2024 strategic planning off to an amazing start.


STRATASCENSION was founded on the notion that business is relational and growth is achieved through the deepening of all the micro connections between people, processes, tools, & performance. We want to help small businesses enhance these connections and leverage them for transformation.


Employee Experience significantly influences Innovativeness

We are a Certified Partner with Predictive Index, the foremost leader in the Talent Optimization category. Our Innovativeness Leadership Framework combined with their platform and data offers clients an easy way to assess their culture and initiate innovativeness initiatives. Click here to schedule a chat to learn more.


If you work with a team and you’d like to find out more about how Leadership Training can help you, then click here. Bring your energy and your questions, and we’ll bring the knowledge and expertise on innovation leadership principles that can help you and your team raise your Leadership Lid.



As a Keap Certified Partner, we leverage the power of automation to improve the innovativeness of consultants, speakers, coaches, trainers, and growth-minded entrepreneurs. Click here to learn more about adding this to your tech stack and get back time lost on those repetitive tasks.


Become a better leader.

Build innovative cultures.

We help CEOs create innovative companies.

35 views0 comments


bottom of page