We’ve covered some essential ground to help you prepare your innovation journey, and now it’s time to put these concepts into action. The innovation formula addresses the very specific tasks that have to be accomplished for innovation to emerge from your organization not only as a matter of luck or at random, but through a concentrated effort that results in sustained innovation performance. Here you will find the Taking Action steps along with 25 additional suggestions that we hope will help you to think and plan creatively and productively about how to make innovation a reality in your organization.
- Change and complexity, the external world that seems to be different nearly every day.
- Risk and the need to come up with great ideas, and to balance potential rewards with the risks that come with striving to attain them.
- Speed, the imperative to go fast because the external world isn’t waiting around for you or your organization, and your competitors would be happy to seize your market share and make it their own.
- Engagement, because it takes the observations, expertise, and insights of many people working effectively together to come up with great ideas, and then transform them into working solutions to problems that your customers really do want to solve.
- Leadership, because no innovations happen without courage, commitment, support, and often resources, and these are elements that you, as leader, must provide in highly visible and emphatic ways.
- And then tools, which can make the path much easier and faster even if they’re not fancy.
Your Innovation Team
This will be a dynamic group of people from many different backgrounds who have vital roles to play in support of your firm’s innovation management objectives. Without knowing the specifics of your situation, your organization, and the unique challenges you’re facing, please consider the following as a suggestion and a general set of jobs or roles that are useful to the successful pursuit of innovation in a small organization, that is, your company.
Complexity and Change: The Strategy Manager
We began the discussion of your innovation needs, requirements, and opportunities by exploring the driving forces of change that are shaping the world of tomorrow. We talked about technology, science, culture, the population, and climate change, and these broad trends as well as some that may be specific to your industry or your organization present a continually changing panorama that you need to be paying close attention to, for there’s no telling when an external change will lead to a specific requirement or challenge for you.
As you recruit the best people you can find to participate on your innovation team, and work to engage with them as your teammates, colleagues, and fellow travelers on the innovation journey, one of the most important things to remember is that innovation is driven by divergent thinking, which we also know as lateral thinking, and as a leader you must specifically encourage, promote, and indeed insist on the necessity of divergent thinking across all aspects of the work, from the design and management of your innovation efforts, to the conduct of the many ongoing innovation projects.