Photo by Nine Köpfer
Like many corporate initiatives, innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum, on it’s own. The very nature of an innovation project compels it to be something that will move a large corporation forward, or in a new direction. Innovation requires a team of people, serious effort and a commitment from the corporate leadership team.
One person can think critically and creatively to come up with a good idea, but it requires a team to test that idea, explore all of its aspects to find potential risks or problems, and improve upon that idea until it transforms from a good one to an actionable corporate project. Building a diverse team of people to work on submitting, refining and improving these innovative ideas helps to ensure that ideas are fully vetted and fully formed. When you have someone from finance, research and development, marketing, and sales on the team, they can view and test each idea from their department’s needs, knowledge and experience.
From the very beginning of the innovation project, the formation of teams and the laying of the project groundwork, right up until the point of implementation, a serious amount of effort is required. Putt the necessary energy and effort into the project will help to ensure it’s success. If a corporation is not ready to invest the manpower, the time and potentially the resources for this type of effort, then that corporation is not ready to tackle an innovation project.
Generally for corporate innovation projects to be successful, the entire organization has to support them. By support, we mean see value in. Think of it this way, even if the innovation project is not a company wide effort, meaning not everyone will be involved in the project, a certain number of individuals will be. Time these individuals are spending on the innovation project, is time they are not spending on daily tasks, or other initiatives. As a result, their team members may have to put in extra effort to make up for the absence of a team member or supervisor assigned to an innovation project.
If these other team members do not see value in the innovation project which is drawing on their fellow team member’s or supervisor’s time, resentment, annoyance or other thoughts and emotions may take root.
It’s hard to inspire from a top down corporate structure, unless the leader of the corporation is a charismatic and energetic, engaging everyone in the organization. So instead of creating a mandate from the CEO, approach team leaders and get them excited about it. You then empower them to speak to their individual teams about the project and explain how each member on the team will play a role in the success of the project, whether directly or by helping those who are directly involved.