Barring the Wright Brothers, the majority of inventors have been lone rangers, often geniuses that rely on solitude to inspire them to their greatest discoveries.
At first glance, the line that's drawn between Invention and Innovation is blurry at best, but there's an important distinction in that innovation is primarily carried out in teams, with the receptiveness of these groups often holding the key to a team's ability to innovate effectively.
The team dynamic needed to foster innovation successfully relies upon its members to be comfortable enough to contribute anything they see fit, without the fear that their suggestions are going to be met with ridicule.
Senior Management should be ready to shake up any group that isn't exhibiting creativity and be ready to put people together who have different opinions and views. If management doesn't make this happen, there isn't a testing enough environment for these ideas to be put to, leading to unremarkable solutions and unsolved conundrums.
Management should also direct innovation and incorporate it into defined corporate goals so that it is never misguided. Senior management should also have the fortitude to defend failed innovation attempts to the CEO by making it clear that failure is a function of success.
Planning for innovation should never be a case of just passing it off to the the research and development department, senior management should encourage the organisation to embark on open innovation culture, where everybody is encouraged to bring their ideas to the table.
Management plays a critical role in innovation and should lay down the foundations for a company's innovation processes. The management function is undoubtedly changing and will have to adapt if it's to get the most out of its employees and innovation in the process.