09: Innovation demands leadership

The more the cult of celebrity extends into everyday life, it seems, the more distaste grows for celebrity leaders of innovation.

British engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, New York city planner Robert Moses, Intel chip designer Robert Noyce, Russian space programme chief Sergei Korolev, Japan’s Soichiro Honda: in innovation, as in life, strong leaders are essential. Yet for some years the trend in general management theory has been away from the charismatic leader and toward the servant leader or the self-confessedly incomplete one. [1] Today, the leader is vulnerable or he is nothing.