Leaders create either “enabling” or “inhibiting” environments through their words, intent, actions, or patterns. In some cases, leaders advocate innovation in their speeches (words) while their actions point to the opposite. The patterns of rewards also may depict lip service to innovation, while behaviors that inhibit innovation are rewarded. Innovation is leadership-driven and must run from the top leadership to the lower ranks within the university.
Innovation is an inherently risky process, and the chances of failure are high. This requires that the researchers/innovators are assured that failure will not necessarily attract punishment but will be treated as a learning opportunity and that the financial risks associated with this process can be absorbed by the university.
People are at the center of innovation, and they must possess the requisite skills/capabilities to engage in innovation. In a continuously changing and competitive environment, this calls for continuous skills upgrading. It is essential, therefore, that universities provide their staff with opportunities for such skills development. These may be organized and paid for by third parties, but the University could also tap in the resources/expertise in the different disciplines to train its staff. It could also set up a budget to send its staff or specialized training.