Adaptation as the Foundation of Innovation

Posted on August 20, 2018

In Business Professor Vijay Govindarajan’s talk on creating an innovation mindset Vijay reflects on the importance of recognising that the world is changing. He states,

“Business leaders cannot reengineer their current business,  rather they must innovate in response to that which is changing”

Vijay’s talk highlights how responsivenessadaptation and collaboration are essential components of innovation.

  • In order to innovate business leaders must first recognise, what is changing. 
  • In order to recognise what is changing, leaders must exercise responsiveness.


Responsive leaders are present and receptive to signals in, around and across the boundaries of their organisations as well as in, around and across the boundaries of the contexts in which their organisations operate. Responsiveness enables leaders to gather important information regarding signals of change. By exercising responsiveness, leaders become clear on why they need to adapt.


Adaptation describes the responsive movement required to match a business’s value proposition with the changes that are occurring around it. Adaptation distinguishes ‘’how’ businesses need to innovate in order to align themselves with the changes impacting their organisation.


Vijay concludes that “ innovation is less of a technical problem and more of a mindset challenge”.

For an organisation to change its mindset, leaders must be courageous and bring new voices into their organisations. By empowering and inviting in the voices of those in, around, and across the boundaries of the business as well as in, around and across the boundaries of the context in which the business is operating, the entire organisational ecosystem can be articulated by all those present and a part of it.

A collaborative response brings into participation those who are implicated in the changes that are taking place as well as those who can make the process of adaptation possible.


Innovation is what a business does differently in order to adapt to that which is changing.

When leaders ask themselves: “what is changing?” and “who can change that with me?”they build responsive capability across the whole system in which their businesses are operating. This collaborative responsiveness can then be used to discern and gather data on the changes that are occurring across the business ecosystem.

When this happens, a business can access all the information it needs on why, how, who and what needs to be done to adapt and successfully innovate in response to that which is changing.

Redwood&Co believe in awakening possibilities through collaboratively crafted leadership and support our clients in igniting action through fostering connection.

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