Innovation begins with Accountability

Hello everyone,

We all think that innovation begins with innovation itself, but that is incorrect. Innovation must begin with the single most important aspect of any part of business and that is accountability.

Accountability is not something that comes easy to everyone but it is the key to achieving a successful innovating organisation or an innovative department, such as risk.

I am sure if you think back to an event, project or team in your organisation which was successful you see accountability as a key factor in its success. So my question is, why is it when things don’t go so well does accountability seem to be thrown out the window? People seem to take three steps backwards to avoid being seen as accountable.

However, what is interesting is that to truly be an innovative organisation or function, then failure is going to be part of the normal process. Therefore, organisations need to have the mental capacity to handle the failure as part of the standard process, and individuals within the organisation need to ensure they maintain accountability during both successes and failures.

I once heard a statement that what makes a great leader is someone who has seen and experienced failure, as if all you have seen is success you will not know how to truly handle the situations of failure. In this respect, accountability is part of the reason that a successful leader needs to fail, and needs to take accountability for that failure. For taking accountability during a crisis or a failure, will make you and the organisation stronger.

So, next time, when you are staring at the error you made or the problem you caused, don’t shy away from taking responsibility. On the contrary, stand up and hold yourself accountable for what has happened, and focus on the most important aspect – making things right.

Have a great holiday period everyone. Take accountability for your own actions, whatever they are, and enjoy the outcomes, both positive and negative.



Scott North has extensive experience in enterprise risk management, internal audit, operational risk and compliance, risk strategy, scenario planning, technology risk, technology business analysis, systems design, financial accounting, and management accounting. Scott is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Chartered Accountants with a Masters Degree from the University of Melbourne in Business and Information Technology. Scott is also a Fellow of the University of Melbourne.

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