The CNO and Leading Innovation: Competencies for the Future
Although innovation is critical to success in today's tumultuous environment, health care is slow to embrace it, and there is significant variability in strategic adoption of innovation across organizations. Nurse leaders do not need to be innovators themselves but must engage in, and have the ability to create, an organizational culture of innovation. Twenty-six leadership behaviors specific to innovation leadership were identified through a Delphi study to develop competencies as well as the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that support nurse leaders in acquiring or expanding the capability of nurse leaders to create a culture of innovation. It was demonstrated that nursing innovation experts were able to differentiate between general leadership behaviors and innovation leader behaviors. In addition, the need to acquire basic leadership competencies before mastering innovation leader competencies was identified. Five strategies to initiate or expand a culture of innovation in organizations were identified, including (1) assessment of organizational capacity for innovation; (2) acknowledgement of the responsibility of all leaders to create an innovation-rich environment; (3) provision of education, skill building, and coaching; (4) encouragement of an ongoing practice of innovation, even in the face of failure; and (5) development of a sustainable culture of innovation.