Taking Ideas From the Edge and Bringing Them Into Your Core: Integrate to Innovate
As leaders face a global business environment marked by volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) conditions, a new way to sense and respond to the environment is required. Specifically, leaders need to adopt integrative mindsets -- capable of balancing both "core" and "edge" concerns, resolving tensions among opposing ideas and using them to generate innovative outcomes. This article describes the values, attributes, actions and behaviors that have proven to be successful, based on practical examples, business research and the author's personal experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. He presents an ambidextrous framework that combines the ingredients for successful execution today with the innovative capacity required for growth tomorrow. In this sense, a Strategic Integration Unit can give much-needed impetus and focus.