Leadership and innovation

How a good leader builds on strengths on the road to innovation

19 of April of 2016

Can a movie serve as a metaphor for reality? Can a historical character embody the characteristics required in today’s leaders? Perhaps because I am so immersed in the world of innovation, I see links with the film Braveheart and its hero, William Wallace, in many of my day to day issues.

The struggles in  Scotland’s first war of independence, show, it seems to me, many things in common with the challenges faced internally and on a daily basis by innovation departments or areas in large corporations to bring innovation to light. A truly heroic task.

William Wallace, the film’s hero, pursues his goal with determination, this being one of the characteristics required of those who wish to bring their companies to the forefront of innovation.



Wallace studies all his battles carefully and conquers new territories gradually. A must for entrepreneurs: seek ambitious goals, but start small, gradually bringing down barriers to make your goals achievable. ”Think big, but start small.

He talks of not being afraid of failure, but if you must fail: fail early, fail quickly and fail cheaply. And always incorporate learning into the process.

When William Wallace is told that victory in his territory is impossible, his reply is: “Why?” He is able to break with established notions and not give in to complacency. He inspires his team, urging them on towards the common goal. Wallace does not always have the answers, but he knows what questions to ask.

Innovation requires leaders within the organisation. And that’s leaders, not just titles. It’s not a question of positions and inherited leadership. Innovation needs truly passionate people; people who can say yes when everybody else is saying no; who drive the innovation process. People who are not afraid to fail, but who, when they do, learn from their mistakes and improve day by day.

And innovation requires a small rebellion. It requires a community of heroes, a good leader who, like Wallace, can break with the established wisdom. Rebels who nurture fragile ideas, make them grow, transform them into projects. Who believe that another way of doing things is possible, and who enjoy putting this into practice. People who know that doing the same thing over and over again will only lead to the same results. And so they are ready to fight that first battle for innovation, to make Ferrovial a benchmark in the infrastructure sector.


Read the interview with Federico Flórez CIIO of innovation

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