College of Business, Student Success Center

Why is innovation important?

By Cody Gray | January 31, 2023

For a business to succeed, it must be willing to innovate. A major part of leadership is being able to formally incorporate innovation into your plans.

According to one study, “600 global business executives, managers, and professionals…pointed to leadership as the best predictor of innovation performance” (Barsh et al., 2019). A Master of Arts in organizational leadership may prepare you for the challenges of innovation. It will provide you with the tools you need to lead successful change efforts.

Strong leaders have a plan to innovate, while weaker leaders struggle to adapt to market changes. For leaders who struggle with innovation, failure is nearly inevitable.

The Customer

When you think about change, start with the consumer. Why you are innovating is just as important as how you are innovating.

Adapting your services to the customer is imperative as competition grows. Understanding what your customers want will help you stay ahead of the curve. Constantly innovating with the customer in mind will give your business a competitive advantage.

The Employee

Innovation can help employees grow. Keeping everyone involved in the innovation process is beneficial to everyone’s career development. Innovation provides the opportunity to detect other leaders within the organization, develop these individuals, and guide them further along in their careers. There is an old saying that “good leaders generate followers while great leaders generate more leaders.”

The Shareholders

Shareholders want management to maximize profit. It would be remiss to believe that a company is maximizing its’ profit without innovating in some fashion. A leader must understand that innovation and maximizing profit work together. More innovative companies have more success retaining a shareholder’s investment.


Innovation helps satisfy consumer demand, provides leadership opportunities for employees, and generates profit for shareholders. Innovation within one company often compels innovation in a competitor. Ultimately, one company will be less successful than another, but innovation is beneficial for society.

Constant competition forces companies to develop high-quality products that will consistently evolve for the better. The best products will be on store shelves and in the homes of customers. This process is vital for our society’s growth, and it begins with innovative leadership.

The Bottom Line

Without innovation at the leadership level, a company will get left behind. The demand for high-quality products from consumers, and high returns on investment from shareholders, makes innovation necessary. It will help your employees and business grow for the better. Moreover, it will help society.

Leaders must begin with a plan to innovate. If the fastest way to go out of business is to market a bad product, a close second would be a failure to innovate.

What is your plan? Do you have the tools you need to be an innovative leader?

Cody Gray is a graduate assistant for the football program at Charleston Southern University. He is working toward attaining a Master of Arts in organizational leadership.


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