Breaking the Mold: Building an Innovative Leadership Mindset in 7 Ways

Hannah Baker
6 Min Read

Top innovative leaders from around the world understand that innovation is no longer an option but a necessity in today’s business landscape. 

Therefore, an innovation mindset means being open to new ideas, embracing change, and continuously seeking improvement and growth. Any business enabler with an innovation mindset will always be better equipped to adapt to the changing environment, identify new opportunities, and stay ahead of the competition.

Why Innovation Mindset Is Important for Business Leaders

Who do you think is worthy of being known as the best-admired leader in today’s day and age? Many would consider a top business enabler who is constantly driven to innovate and solve the most pertinent challenges our world is facing as one. 

 Therefore, fostering an innovation mindset among leaders is essential for businesses to survive and thrive in the long run. Moreover, many studies and researches support this argument for an innovation mindset being a foundational skill of any exceptional leader and a successful organisation:

  • A study by Accenture found that 84% of executives believe that innovation is critical to their business’s success.
  • A global CEO survey by PwC found that 67% of CEOs believe creativity and innovation are incredibly important to organisations and a priority for their companies.
  • According to a Great Place to Work report, companies that ensure inclusive and collaborative innovation within an organisation generate 5.5X more revenue than their industry peers. 

How to Build an Innovation Mindset: The 7 Imperatives

In this blog post, we will discuss 7 easy steps to foster an innovation mindset among leaders.

  1. Lead by Example: Top innovative leaders take charge of innovation and set the tone for their teams. They are typically the driving force behind innovation, inspire their teams to think creatively and lead by example.
  2. Empower to Innovate: Leaders need to empower their teams to innovate by providing them with the necessary resources, tools, and support. They should encourage their teams to experiment, take risks, and learn from failures.
  3. Build an Environment that Stimulates Innovation: According to an Accenture global survey, 82% of C-suite executives believe that a suitable structure to support innovation will yield a rewarding innovation culture. Thus, it is imperative that business leaders create a culture that fosters innovation by encouraging open communication, collaboration, and a willingness to try new things. They should also provide a supportive environment that encourages creative thinking and innovation.
  4. Encourage Diversity of Thought: Business leaders should encourage diversity of thought within their teams by bringing together individuals with different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. This can lead to more creative and innovative ideas.
  5. Foster Continuous Learning: Innovation requires continuous learning and development. Business leaders should encourage their teams to seek new learning opportunities and invest in their professional development.
  6. Embrace Emerging Technologies: Emerging technologies, such as AI, ML, IoT, blockchain, etc., can offer new opportunities for innovation. Business leaders should be open to new technologies and explore how they can be leveraged to create value for their customers.
  7. Experiment and Iterate: Innovation requires experimentation and iteration. Business leaders should encourage their teams to quickly test new ideas and concepts and iterate based on feedback.

Most Admired Leaders in India Who Have Adopted the Innovation Mindset

Sanjiv Bajaj, Ratan Tata, Anand Mahindra, and Adi Godrej are all renowned business leaders who have been instrumental in driving innovation within their respective organisations. Here are some examples of how each of them has developed an innovation mindset and continues to be counted among the most innovative leaders of 2023:

He also believes in building a lean organisation, creating strong feedback loops, and sharing ideas at ‘warp speed’. This is something he labels ‘the start-up’ mindset’.  Mahindra has also launched several innovative products, including the e2o electric car, which was India’s first electric car.

Sanjiv Bajaj, the Chairman and Managing Director of Bajaj Finserv and the President of CII (2022-23), has fostered an innovation culture by encouraging his employees to challenge the status quo and take risks. Bajaj has also invested in disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and machine learning. The key to building such an innovation mindset? Having a consumer-first approach as well as a growth-oriented mindset.


Fostering an innovation mindset among leaders is critical for businesses to remain competitive and relevant in today’s fast-changing world. 

These are tenets of creating a culture of innovation that drives growth and success. As we look to the most innovative leaders of 2023 and beyond, those who embrace these principles are sure to be among the best-admired leaders and growth enablers in India and beyond.

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