Innovation Starts at the TopCompanies that excel at innovation share certain common characteristics.

They’re creative, leaders in their markets and have a reputation for being “cutting-edge.”

It’s not surprising most businesses want to join this elite circle.

To do so, says Hal Gregersen and Jeff Dyer, PhDs at the University of California, Irvine, and UCLA respectively, innovation must be “consciously cultivated at the leadership level, and then through the organization.”

As Dyer and Gregersen note in an article for Innovation Management, “If company leaders don’t embrace innovative thinking and skills firsthand, the rest of the organization doesn’t stand a chance.”

According to the authors (co-creators of Innovator’s Accelerator), innovation takes place at three levels, all of which “are important to sustain and grow a business.” These levels include:

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