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Emotional And Intellectual Intelligence Of The Intelligent Mindset – Part 2 – Practice Of Innovation

Written by: Prof. Dr. Frank Lee Harper, Jr., Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Prof. Dr. Frank Lee Harper, Jr

This article continues our journey with my "Leaders Are Born to Be Made!" series. The teaching objective is to continue to share my leadership and management insights within an agile ideology to drive strategic execution—professionally and personally—in this Industrial Revolution (IR) 4.0. Each article discusses the "world-class leadership behavior and/or management best practice" associated with the featured letter of the A.G.I.L.E. L.E.A.D.E.R.S.H.I.P. with a G.R.I.P. ™ titled acronym that comprises the Agile Leadership Framework™. The featured letter of this article continues with the "I" in A.G.I.L.E., introduced in the previous article, Part 1, which provided an overview of the Intelligent Mindset by discussing the operational definition of each “I”that comprises the practices of “The Six I’s of Intelligent Mindset.” This Part 2 will discuss the first practice of the Intelligent Mindset called innovation.

Man in black jacket holding spark

As a Provost, Professor, IT governance and cyber security executive, and consultant, an Intelligent Mindset is critical to implementing and sustaining governance frameworks like–i.e., COBIT 5, Balanced Scorecard, Enterprise Architecture, Value-IT, Risk-IT, Security/Cybersecurity, ITIL, Assurance-IT—to achieve an IR 4.0 digital vision, which includes but is not limited to:

  • Customer Journey – deliver superior customer engagement in sales, marketing, and support

  • Business Operations – drive operational efficiency, maximize employee productivity, and optimize business decisions.

  • Governance, Risk, and Compliance – maximize meeting compliance requirements and manage global risk

Emotional and intellectual intelligence drives innovation and competitive advantage. Neuroscience research identifies several brain components linked to emotional intelligence, including, among others, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, frontal cortex, amygdala, and the nucleus accumbens. These comprise the limbic systems deep within the brain, enabling our behavioral and emotional responses.

As for the relationship between intellect and the brain, neuroscience research associates the parietal and frontal components of the brain with intellectual activities, such as the ability to organize personality, behavior, and emotional control.

The intelligent mindset within the Agile Leadership Framework™ involves having the mental toughness to be flexible, upfront/visionary, and most importantly, be in control. The following graphic illustrates 18 things mentally tough people do. I thank Hilda Wangari, Founder and Director at Proficient Communications Limited, located in Nairobi, Kenya for allowing me to use it. The graphic embraces core behaviors discussed during these series of articles covering the “Six I’s of the Intelligent Mindset.” The focus of the following paragraphs will be on how each contributes to the practice of innovation in the Intelligent Mindset.

Source Proficient Communications Limited, Nairobi, Kenya

Source Proficient Communications Limited, Nairobi, Kenya

First practice of an intelligent mindset – Innovation

Here you will learn how innovation relates to each of the 18 behaviors shown in the above graphic. Let us visit each of them going clockwise starting at noon.

They move on. Successful people have become successful because they have learned that failure is a necessary step to become successful. They embrace the failure as a lesson and move on the journey with the wisdom of what works and does not. When a person can fail their way to success, it implies accepting failure as a lesson learned that equips them to move closer to success. They keep control. Innovators “INSPECT WHAT THEY EXPECT.” Innovative people have a master of my faith and captain of my soul mentality, which enables them to control their steps. They embrace change. Believing that one can be innovative starts with the desire to change. We live in a project economy where change is the only constant. Projects are the vehicle for change. Despite the many change initiatives needing more courage to be the exception, a lack of courage to be the exception remains the recipe for becoming extinct. They stay happy. Innovators accept the ebb and flow of the journey to be different. I attribute this to having a Spiritual Connection with a Supreme Being.

They are kind. Research has shown that thoughtful leadership has become a key driver of business innovation—and competitive advantage. Those who practice being kind appear to realize that tough times require gentler measures. Groundbreaking research conducted by Signature Consultants reveals that leading with kindness is the most effective leadership style to drive innovation and competitive advantage in the marketplace. The firm's groundbreaking Humankindex Survey of US workers uncovered a clear connection between the practice of kind leadership and a company’s ability to create an environment that facilitates and supports innovation.

Research percentage

Though this research is US-based, my empirical research gathered by lecturing to leaders living in over 25 countries worldwide supports these US findings. It just pays to be kind to people.

They are willing to take a calculated risk. Taking calculated risks can trigger creativity, innovation, and growth. It can also increase career advancement, build resilience, and gain respect and trust. Avoiding risk can lead to stagnant, missed opportunities and losing relevance, especially with AI fueling the pace. They invest their energy in the present. Professor and Consultant Vijay Govindarajan writes in his Harvard Business Review article “Great Innovators Create the Future, Manage the Present, and Selectively Forget the Past,"

“For a long time, I have been troubled to see how often organizations fail to invest wisely in their futures while instead placing dominant emphasis on the present. To be sure, the present is vitally important. Your current business is the performance engine. It both funds day-to-day operations and generates profits for the future. Where problems arise is when the present crowds out other strategic priorities—for example, when the only skills brought into a business are those that serve today's core. That is shortsighted in every sense of the word.”

A key takeaway from a mentoring course on the laws of elevation was the principle of the present. Focusing on the PRESENT is the best chance to change the future.

They accept full responsibility for their past behavior. In my book, I share agile leadership concepts that align with the behaviors critical for cultivating an innovative culture. I advocate each in leadership roles held with Cambridge Corporate University (Provost, Vice Chancellor), Intelligent Systems Services, LLC (Founder, Certified Agile Coach), and UBTS International Corp. (Founding Member, Board Director, President). Five innovative practices uncovered and published from a conversation on disruptive innovation and managing the strategic transformation from a weekly show, DisrupTV, include:

  1. Curiosity. The quest to do something different that creates value starts with a question. You ask, "What if?" to begin the innovation journey. Why not? How might we?

  2. Customer obsession. To create value, you must solve a problem that matters to your customers. You have to find a job that they need help to get done.

  3. Collaboration. The dimensions of collaboration in Agile principles are awareness, articulation, and appropriation. Magic happens when agile principles, different mindsets, and skills collide at intersections. Great innovators plant themselves at those intersections. Great innovators recognize that none of us is as smart as all. We will revisit this concept in a later article on the agile leadership concept of Respect, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

  4. Be adept in ambiguity. We know innovation is never a straight line. Innovation success comes from constant experimentation and requires a willingness to fumble, take false steps, and sometimes fail. Recall the earlier discussion on “They move on.”

  5. Empowerment. You can only do something different to create value once you do something. You have to put your idea into action.

They celebrate other people’s success. I have learned that the way to build a culture of collaborative innovation is to celebrate another person’s or partner’s success. One of the concepts in operating a platform business model is one of co-creation. UBTS International Corp.'s co-creation strategy has enabled the creation of innovative technology products by allowing partners in geographically disbursed regions of the world to:

  • Create tools that allow everyone to communicate strategically about innovation.

  • Vet and refine ideas collectively and continuously.

  • Smash through barriers that block innovation.

Each partner in the co-creation process celebrates each other’s success. The combined mutual, empathetic, and ultimate trust contributed to this successful agreement involving partners in globally dispersed regions of the world.

They are willing to fail. Innovation is about allowing new ideas to be tested and potentially fail, as it is the basis of progress. They enjoy their time alone. Researchers have uncovered many reasons why innovative people enjoy their time alone. In summary, this alone time allows them to be productive, grow, think, and regroup.

They are prepared to work and succeed on their own merits. An innovator is a “greater fool.” According to EQ advocate Phil Johnson, MBL, the greater fool is the individual with the courage and naivete to believe they can succeed where others have failed. The greater fool is an economic term. For the rest of us to profit, we need a greater fool—someone who will buy long and sell short. Most people spend their lives trying not to be the greater fool. The greater fool is someone with the perfect blend of self-delusion and ego to think that s/he can succeed where others have failed. The world needs more fools. They have staying power. The behaviors in the graphic are mutually beneficial. Innovators are resilient, which allows them to remain relevant. This quality is inherent in the agile leadership concepts. Many thought leaders demonstrate they have staying power as they have become captains of their respective industries. This growth does not happen overnight!

They evaluate their core beliefs. A person’s core beliefs are the fundamental beliefs that shape their worldview. Where innovation is successful, emotional intelligence is far more powerful than intellectual intelligence. For example, the responsible use of AI requires a self-check to remove any ego-based fears that may prevent introducing an AI-based product to the marketplace that does not create a better world. They must expend their mental energy wisely. Research by UC Berkeley PhDs shows that Emotional Intelligence is 400% more powerful than Intellectual Intelligence when predicting an individual’s success. So, developing EQ allows us to think productively.

They tolerate discomfort. Authentic, emotionally intelligent individuals and organizations are recognized by their ongoing commitment to feeling uncomfortable when pushing themselves to discover what living and working on purpose means for them. The benefits that come from this discipline are extraordinary. Ultimately, they reflect on their progress through the innovation journey, identifying best practices, process improvements, and things to eliminate.


Innovation is a business process. An effective process should be well modeled, communicated, clearly understood, orchestrated, and institutionalized as a core competence into the DNA of the Organization. Designing and building the innovation process begins with the practice of innovation in an Intelligent Mindset.

The next article in this discussion of the Intelligent Mindset will cover the practice of Insight.


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Prof. Dr. Frank Lee Harper, Jr Brainz Magazine

Prof. Dr. Frank Lee Harper, Jr., Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Dr. Frank Lee Harper, Jr. is the founder and world champion of agile leadership concepts. He is President ‒ UBTS International Corp having strategic affiliates in over 55 countries, Provost / Associate Professor ‒ Cambridge Corporate University, having branches in over 25 countries, while serving on for-profit and not-for-profit advisory boards. He is an award-winning IT leader and published author who is adept at influencing and teaching strategic transformations across multiple countries, industries, disciplines, and technologies for businesses having global revenues ($1+ Trillion); savings/growth ($10+ Billion); with budgets ($4+ Billion). His favorite motto is, "Leaders Are Born To Be Made."



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