Marica Labrou is Senior Business Advisor and Author of the book "Secrets of Success for Family Businesses in the New Era" (2020). She is a member of the Board of Directors of DEPA, Entersoft & Focus Bari. She has more than 30 years of successful executive experience in major multinational and Greek companies (BSH, HP, Microsoft, SingularLogic, Intersys, KAFKAS), the last 15 years in positions of General Manager, Managing Director, and CEO. She has a degree in Chemical Engineering and a postgraduate degree in Business Administration (MBA). She is a member of NED Club (Association of Non-Executive Board Members), mentor at Endeavor, WoT (Women on Top), 100mentors. She is also a member of two Advisory Boards in AUEB (Athens University of Economics and Business). Until February 2021 she has been the Vice President of ACEO (Association of CEOs in Greece) and a member of the Women's Committee of the Hellenic-American Chamber. She is committed to compassionate leadership and to innovative entrepreneurship.
Senior Business Advisor • Writer • BoD member
Excerpt from Marica's answer on 'What is the role of the C-Suite in empowering in-novation?'
There is plenty of discussions around innovation in recent years - there is plenty of studies, articles, courses, conferences, congresses, even prizes. There is little understanding, though, on the actual accelerators and inhibitors of applying innovation in a real business environment.
The stance of C-level executives, and especially that of the CEO, plays a tremendously decisive role in this direction. Most often than not, it is the Executive Committee that gives the innovation “tone” within a company. There might be lots of innovation initiatives presented and even decided, but only those “blessed” and embraced by top management will proceed successfully. The reason is simple: if top management approves, supports, and encourages an innovation proposal, then resources (capital, people, tools, time, and effort) are relatively easy to be provided. In this way, the innovation project is highly likely to end up successfully.
Nevertheless, innovation initiatives are mainly not leadership’s initiatives. They should not be leadership’s initiatives, either. The best innovative ideas come from the “people in the field”, those who are operationally involved with the products and processes of the company, those who “breathe” in the heart of business operations. They know best; they are the first to face the problems and the first to think of the solutions. Often, they are the ones to think further to what they are asked for, and this is where innovation starts! These people should be empowered to submit their proposals, they should be encouraged to provide bold aspects, they should be allowed to become disruptive if this seems to be the most appropriate approach [...]
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