THE BLOG

4 Components Required to Sustain Innovation

04/29/2014 12:52 pm ET | Updated Jun 29, 2014

It's clearer today than ever before: Businesses must continuously innovate to survive. But how do we determine the factors necessary for sustaining continuous innovation?

Teresa Amabile, director of research in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at Harvard Business School, spoke with me for my Leadership: A Master Class about the active ingredients needed for a company's survival.

1. Expertise
"You must have expertise in your domain in order to be creative -- whether it's art, mathematics, or marketing, for example. This expertise relies on talent, which is partly innate, but also results from education, work experience, and professional development/on-the-job training. Gaining expertise also requires you to master technical skills and learn new skills in your domain."

2. An Imaginative Perspective
"Creative thinking is crucial for continuous innovation. This type of thinking includes the abilities to assume various perspectives on problems, perceive challenges in ways your competitors are not, and being willing to take risks.

Some people are naturally skilled at this, but it's important to know that creative thinking can be learned. It's never too late to improve your propensity to become more adaptable, confident, and original in your thinking."

3. Industriousness
"This may seem mundane, but you must know how to work hard. It's truly imperative in sustaining innovation. Even in extremely difficult scenarios, leaders who innovate are able to persevere."

4. The Right Motivators

"Lastly, you need a particular set of psychological states. My original work investigated the link between intrinsic motivation and creativity. I was able to determine that people are most creative when they're driven by interest, enjoyment, satisfaction, and the challenges of the work itself, and not by external goals, external motivators, or external pressures."

What would you add to this list? Leave your suggestions in the comment field.

This post was first published on LinkedIn.