Rethinking Leadership: The Pitfalls of Centralization in Nurturing Retail Innovation

I challenge the broadly accepted notion that centralization is beneficial for innovation in retail and brand companies. Centralizing decision-making processes often hinders creativity and flexibility, while effective leadership in today's business landscape involves decentralization. CEOs play a crucial role in fostering innovation by ensuring individuals understand and take charge of their respective business units and processes. Innovation is a product of combining technologies, insightful thinking, and business models, rather than relying solely on single big bang advancements like AI. The focus should be on how these technologies are used in combination with other tools and strategies to engage consumers. I also question the establishment of centralized innovation departments in complex organizations and advocate instead for empowering individuals with accountability for their areas, fostering a more diverse and effective innovative environment.

Aurelian Lis

CEO, Dermalogica, a subsidiary of Unilever Prestige