Having the desire and objective to innovate from a management perspective is of little value without the process and diverse team in place to apply creativity, business understanding of a particular issue and relevant solutions. Forming the team is a crucial step in not only increasing the likelihood of success but also the speed at which you yield results.
When considering the individuals to collaborate on a particular objective, carefully consider the following qualities:
- Knowledge of the underlying business (in general)
- Knowledge of the objective or problem trying to address
- Motivators (Financial, Fame, Desire to win, Personal connection to objective)
- Business Relationships that can be leveraged that can provide input to objective
- Bandwidth to participate
- Leadership, creative and/or technical qualities
- Ability to challenge and offer alternative view points
Key to setting the right tone is to not mandate a random group of people “innovate”, but providing direction for a motivated team and allowing them to approach it in a manner that they dictate. This assumes someone with leadership capability is involved and can help steer the ship if they get into troubled waters. Example “All star” innovation team:
- Leader – connection to the issue, motivated and experience to lead a diverse team, must be given autonomy to lead
- Voice of reason – pragmatic individual preferably a seasoned veteran who is well respected by peers
- Bean Counter – Finance background with ability to quantify opportunity and costs of innovation output and cost of process
- SME(s) – First hand knowledge of key issue(s) or assets considered to be part of innovation output (technology, business, Etc..)
- Creative type -1 or more creative types from diverse settings. Creativity does not need to be related to problem or objective.
- The outsider – individual from outside the organization with understanding of innovation target
Launching a team:
- Communicate team structure and charter throughout organization so visibility exists and context for input requests from team
- Align on a process to measure status and projected benefits
- Put in place incentive(s) that specifically motivate each team member
- Gain alignment on bandwidth for innovators from direct management
- Insist on the use of visuals, leave it up to the team to determine tools
- Early in process force a report out of the “problem statement” and road blocks team perceives…don’t look for status updates.
Get out of the way of progress!