Inspiring Innovation

  • Ms. Andrea M. Tomann

The Defense Innovation Initiative and the Army Operating Concept provide a common vision for the future, and they demand innovation. Congressional and DOD leaders as well as Army’s CASAL survey of leader effectiveness suggest that there is a dramatic need for improvement in Army leader support for innovation. Despite senior leaders’ call to action, leaders can undermine their efforts to support. These conflicts represent lost opportunities to leverage the creativity and expert knowledge within the Army. Individual Army leaders can choose innovation; in fact, they must in order to sustain a competitive advantage against our adversaries. Creativity, critical thinking and collaboration provide the leader tools to cultivate. Leaders can avoid discouraging innovation by not blaming fiscal uncertainty, process or bureaucracy and by mitigating the attention, error and data blindness that interfere with their decision-making. Senior leaders provide a vision for the future of warfare and in doing so articulate the importance of innovation for success. Leaders must inspire creativity and critical thought across their organizations to create value-added solutions to the Army’s complex challenges.