Innovation was once referred to as “the new science of success” by MIT Professor Clayton Christensen.
Leaders responsible for innovation need to be competent in making innovation happen, yet many acknowledge that they are not sure that their practices would yield success. Research on innovation leadership competencies appears to be limited and fragmented.
In a survey amongst 300 Fortune 1000 executives, 95% acknowledged the critical contribution of innovation for the future, yet over 50% reported that they had insufficient systems, tools or processes for fostering innovation. 
Harris Interactive. (2010), Fortune 1000 Executives’ perspectives on enterprise; innovation survey results 10/14/2010,New York.
In another study published by McKinsey Quarterly, over 70% of senior executives had identified innovation as one of their top three business drivers into the future. Over 65% of these executives were less than confident about their innovation decisions. This contrast between aspirations and execution was found to have been caused by management not being prepared or skilled for getting the best out of innovation. 
For innovation success, leaders need to identify, support, encourage and reward traits like psychological safety, open sharing, idea generation, creativity, passion and commitment.
New competencies are required for leading in the context of increasing demands for innovation, sustained competitive advantage, customer and employee expectations. Research findings suggest that the success behaviours of innovation leaders are different from current leadership behaviours and many managers have not yet been introduced to better ways of managing innovation and feel ill equipped to lead innovation.
Innovation competencies can be seen as inclusion of skills, knowledge and attitudes, including personal competencies and the way they work together for achievement.
If they haven’t already, leaders will increasingly face the responsibility to innovate to rise to the challenges and opportunities that require creativity and the successful implementation of innovative solutions. “Business as usual” practices are unlikely to produce the needed solutions.
 Barsh, J. C., Capozzi, M.M. and Davidson, J. (2008), Leadership and innovation.The McKinsey Quarterly,2008 Number 1.New York.
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