TAUS Services

Innovation Inside Out

To truly embrace disruption, leaders must create a climate of innovation which allows people to explore, to pilot, to design and map the unknown.

There are two fundamental types of innovation—evolutionary innovation, which refers to making incremental improvements, and revolutionary innovation, which refers to innovation that requires more change across the organization. 

- Ellen di Resta ‘Assessing Your Innovation Capability’

All business leaders today are experiencing an increased sense of anxiety as they warily eye the edges for their next challenger. Challengers who thrive on changes in computing architecture, easy to deploy  ‘mashable’ technology, and new market entrants who are not encumbered with existing infrastructure, legacy clients, and business models, and start-ups with access to seemingly elastic capital resources.

Strong leaders and great companies are not closed to the opportunities that digital transformation may represent. They are eager but they struggle with how to disrupt themselves. In past discussions at TAUS, we have explored what this looks like and examined the offerings and theses of new market entrants, ‘outsiders’, offering disruptive and even ‘devastating’ innovation.

Disruption, through encouraging your team to blaze a new trail is often more important to commercial success than guiding the team along a familiar path. Recognising and supporting the disruptors in your organisation can lead to successful innovation for businesses, of all sizes. 

- Dr Trish Gorman, a leading business strategy consultant, in a presentation at University College Dublin

And what of the difficult task when leading disruption from the inside? Typically, in existing organizations, people enjoy career success because they effectively master risks, work to increase predictability and produce increased efficiency through repeatable processes and optimization.

To truly embrace disruption, leaders must create a climate of innovation which allows people to explore, to pilot, to design and map the unknown. The antitheses of a hierarchical leadership model, innovative leadership means influencing team members virtually, enlisting disparate skill sets, balancing styles, approaches, and methods. Most importantly it changes the collective focus from avoiding failure to embracing agile change, ‘pivots’ and iteration.  

Can innovation teams be formed within existing firms? Need they be stand alone, incubated apart or distinct? What does it take to foster new business models that might be disruptive and provide revenue growth from within existing enterprises? This will the focus of our session and breakouts at the TAUS Industry Leaders Forum in Dublin on June 6 and 7.  

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Paula Shannon

Paula (Barbary) Shannon manages Lionbridge’s $600M+ global sales forces and account management teams. Her international career was featured in the Wall Street Journal in 2009. Paula joined Lionbridge in 1999 as Vice President of Internet Alliances and assumed additional responsibilities in 2001 and 2008. Prior to joining Lionbridge, Paula was the Chief Marketing and Sales Officer for Alpnet, Inc., now SDL. She has more than 30 years of experience in the language and translation industry, including 10 years in senior roles with Berlitz International. Paula Shannon is fluent in English, French, and Dutch, and functional in German, Spanish, and Russian. Educated in Canada, Belgium and the US, she holds a B.A. in Russian and German with a minor in Linguistics from McGill University, Montreal, Canada. Paula was recently named By the Canadian Board Diversity Council to the 2016 ‘Diversity 50’, a listing of 50 diverse men and women from across Canada with strong competencies that align with the requirements of many Canadian boards.