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innovationMuch has been written about how difficult it is for a mature company to innovate – to be open to finding new business models, or to allow alternative goals and operational metrics. Even when this kind of flexibility is created however, it’s still not clear what leaders should do to really foster innovation success.

To answer this question, we conducted an 18-month research effort to examine pairs of successful and unsuccessful innovation teams in six different companies, in both Europe and the U.S. What we discovered was that leaders have the ability to create four particular conditions that are favorable to innovation – irrespective of the type of project, or the nature of the team. When leaders actively made sure that these four conditions were present, innovation thrived. But when they either ignored or dropped even one of the four, the chances of success were significantly diminished.

Based on this research, here are the four conditions that managers need to create:

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