LET'S face it - innovation is what investors pay for.

Innovation is the source of competitive advantage and profits because it reduces costs, raises productivity, improves products and attracts customers.

Both customers and businesses benefit from innovation, and when the business turns a profit, so do investors.

Why is it that two companies can provide the same products and services, use the same marketing techniques and still get two completely different results?

The difference lies in its internal environment. The thing that has the most significant impact on a company budget is morale.

Boosting morale

Companies should pay more attention to morale. Positive employees impact customer satisfaction, loyalty, supply costs, turnover, sick days, project completion, quality and more. These employers treat the workplace with respect and take ownership of the projects they manage and the welfare of their employees.

Demoralised staff swell your costs. They jump ship when the next best thing comes along and waste the money spent on training, causing your projects to fail and your reputation to suffer in the marketplace.

Two departments or teams may virtually be the same, but when the foundation to building and maintaining a positive, high-energy workplace is absent, failure is almost certain.

One way to boost morale is through innovation leadership.

Innovation leaders have great self -confidence, yet they are very humble. They are willing to admit that they do not know and cannot possibly be the best in everything.

That is why they persistently seek to learn as much as they can because they know that they are not done yet. Nor will they ever be.

Take risks

Great innovation leaders have a high degree of determination. They do not give up; they find a way out when they fail.

If people do not see the value of their ideas, they find ways to convince them. If that does not work, they look for other alternatives until people finally see the wisdom of their proposals.

Innovation leaders are usually humble, being surrounded by people who will challenge them if they become arrogant. Their determination does not turn into stubbornness, and they flow through challenges rather than push through them.

Involved leaders are more innovative and they can be quiet, loud or in-between. A common characteristic among them is a restless and probing nature.

Companies that attempt to foster innovation from within the ranks recognise the importance of divergence or of being a maverick.

They often try to limit the fear of failure and promote risk-taking. Mr Robert Johnson, of pharmaceuticals giant Johnson & Johnson, is reputed to have congratulated a manager who lost money on a failed new product. He said: "If you are making mistakes, that means you are making decisions and taking risks."

Coca-Cola actually celebrated the failure of its sweet "New Coke", the venture in 1985 that proved to be ill-advised. But the company learnt something important: Coke's strength was its image, not necessarily its flavour.

Driving innovation requires taking action even in the face of fear. For innovation leaders, courage is not fearlessness, but a willingness to act even when there is apprehension.

Many managers are afraid to ask questions that expose their lack of knowledge, but innovation leaders do it all the time. People may laugh at their ignorance at first, but ideas are usually borne from the resulting answers.

Great innovation leaders have fun learning new things. Whether it is taking classes, reading books, attending presentations, engaging in dialogues or looking for new information on the Web, they do it because they want to learn more.

If there is one thing successful innovators have shown over the years, it is that brilliant ideas come from unexpected places.

Who could have predicted that bicycle mechanics would invent the airplane or that the US Department of Defense would give rise to a freewheeling communications platform like the Internet?

Great innovation leaders have a high level of integrity - they keep their word. They understand that this is the foundation of leadership in all dimensions, not just innovation.

Inspiring trust is critical in leadership. This characteristic is not a tactic at work but a value-driven behaviour in every aspect of their lives.

The first step in doing the impossible is to believe that it is achievable.