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Why leaders must be innovators

mads kjøller damkjær | Finanswatch | 12 september 2016

Read the full article in Danish

PA innovation expert, Mads Kjøller Damkjær, shares his view on the challenges faced by CEOs across the world. According to Mads, one of the major challenges is change. 

Mads says: “Long gone are the days when a CEO could predict the development of the market or what tomorrow’s competition will look like. Rules are made to be changed immediately, forcing leaders and their companies to survive and live in a permanent state of uncertainty and change. They are challenged by disruption and external influences, forcing even the most groundbreaking companies to identify exactly where they can apply disruptive thinking and approaches.” 

According to Mads, start-ups may also face challenges when trying to enter new markets and create growth. How do they build a sustainable business and culture, and how do they attract and retain the best talent? The answer to these challenges lie in designing an entirely new mindset around how to take products and services to market. 

“Methods like design thinking involve a number of important things to consider – empathy towards the target groups of your products and services, definition of the challenges you meet, and testing new ideas and learning from these tests to improve your products. However, design thinking needs to be absorbed across the entire organisation and the process needs to be managed by the CEO,” says Mads. 

If a CEO is to succeed at design thinking, they need to have the courage to try new solutions, have the ability to transform ideas into reality, and walk the talk. Moreover, leaders must be able to engage their employees in a narrative about the company’s overall strategy and vision. Lastly, leaders must be able to identify the unique qualities of each of the employees and support them in developing their individual skills. 

“A leader only designs as well as he is able to imagine his company’s future. Design is a method with which to imagine a future that doesn’t exist yet and to create all the elements that are required to make this reality possible. Design creates coherence and challenges the status quo. Moreover, design is a power that calls for positive behaviour within the organisation. This is how you create progress and growth in a company,” concludes Mads. 

Mads Kjøller Damkjær is an innovation expert at PA Consulting Group 

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