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Four Conditions of Creative Innovation

by Earl Wallace January 14, 2012


“Even during times of economic downturns, products that provide innovations that meet customers’ changing needs will prevail in the marketplace.  Innovation keeps companies relevant to consumers.”  So says The Three-Dimensional Leader: Negotiating Your Mission, Resources and Context, which also lays out four ingredients to bring out a team’s creative potential.  


Innovation requires 1) imagination, 2) coordination 3) synergy from diversity, and 4) getting the customer’s view.  




No one thinks out of the box apart from imagination. Imagination envisions how to make the theoretical practical. It sees what others don’t and organizes structure out of ambiguity.  It’s the foundation for connecting the dots to accomplish innovation. 




Desirable leadership models and gets teams to communicate, cooperate, and coordinate. This triple-c synergy is necessary for openly sharing ideas and piggy backing off those most useful to the current project.  Organizations obtain synergy when all communicate, cooperate, and coordinate.


Synergy from Diversity:


Synergy is achieved when the coordinated output of the parts is greater than their mathematical sum, so 1 + 3 = 6. Synergy means that one leader and three followers who operate in sync will accomplish the work of six people who work individually in an uncoordinated way.  Synergy requires synthesizing various perspectives and viewpoints. 


The Customer’s View:


The reason teams innovate is to arrive at the next generation of products and service-delivery that customers value and will choose.  


One-dimensional leaders are preoccupied with power, and stifle creativity by heavy handedly imposing their limited views.  I-D’s never let you do what they don’t know.  2-D’s don’t embrace innovation because they fail to see its relevance within the context. 3-D’s facilitate people to achieve innovation that customers value.  Your creative team may be working for you now, but you must lead them three-dimensionally.


Earl C. Wallace, is author of 

The Three-Dimensional Leader: Negotiating Your Mission, Resources and Context.

His blog gives busy people 3-D MRC leadership & problem solving insights in 300 words or less. 

To learn more about seeing your work in 3-D, visit