The first article in this series focused on approaches to innovation stakeholder management. In that article I contrasted the approach outlined by Mitra Best in her HBR article titled “Get the Corporate Antibodies on Your Side,” where she suggested that you needed to get all stakeholders fully on board for your innovation efforts, in order to drive success. My experience says that this approach is unworkable within a corporate context, and that you need to focus efforts on the stakeholders that are both most likely to support your thinking, and are in a position to influence others towards your goals.
In today’s article, I want to focus on a couple of examples where in former roles I tried to generate broad support for my efforts, with varying degrees of success.
Example #1: Trying hard, but losing time
I worked with an organization where I was trying to launch an employee-focused innovation training and engagement program. Unlike today, where this kind of activity is well understood, this was a relatively new type of thinking, within an extremely conservative, political and consensus-driven organization. Not an ideal innovative environment, but large organizations rarely are. I was advised to gain support by the 15-members of an executive steering committee before proceeding with the launch of my training effort.
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