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Loose-Tight Leadership


Leading an Innovation Team and Managing Ideas

By: Vadim Kotelnikov, Founder, Inspirational Business e-Coach and Innovarsity


The Jazz of Innovation

To jazz up your ability to innovate, turn to jazz – create a clear guiding structure, establish creative chaos environment within this structure to liberate people and trigger accidental discoveries, and encourage creativity and improvisation.

The flexible improvisation-driven model for innovation project management doesn’t discard structure, just as there is a clear structure to good jazz. In innovation, this structure is created through roadmaps, guiding principles and systems... More

Loose-tight leadership is about leading  an innovation team and managing the idea generation and selection process.

At any point in an innovation process, team leaders need to exercise the loose-tight approach – manage both the expansion of thoughts that gives rise to potentially creative alternatives and the homing of a viable option.

Loose-tight leadership alternates the creation of space for idea generation with a deliberate tightening that selects and tests specific ideas for further development. Looseness usually dominates the early stages of the innovation process; in the later stages, tightening becomes more important to scrutinize the concepts and bring the selected ones to the market.

A balanced approach is essential to loose-tight leadership. Those who remain loose too long generate plenty of ideas but have difficulty commercializing them. Those who lock into the tight mode choke off all but most obvious ideas, thus confining innovation to incremental line extensions of existing products that add little value.