Tuesday, September 22, 2009


More and more organizations are becoming convinced that innovation is no longer a nuisance, but that it is the only way out of the misery.

Once you have taken the decision the next step is to think about how you are going to organize that activity (if you haven’t done that already). There are four keys to organizing innovation:

  1. the driver
This person is acting as an intrapreneur (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intrapreneurship). In addition to this (s)he should have quite a broad experience and background. And he should be able to act as a detached observer. This is necessary to make sure that his perspective is open and not biased.

  1. the sponsor
This is the decision maker, who is a member of the Board. He should be the man who can assign budgets and resources. He is an active evangelist of the innovation itself. He should make sure that no operational priorities impact the progress of the project(s).

  1. the space
Innovation can only become a success when there is no operational pressure on the group. They should have a special place where they can work on their projects. Skunk Works (see  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skunk_Works ) was the first example for this.

  1. the team members
There is so much literature about the right composition of teams, that I am not addressing this here. However, it is crucial that the team encompasses – from the beginning – functional representatives from the departments who are involved in the implementation/execution phase (e.g. logistics, sales, delivery, IT), business representatives (those who have the budget responsibility) and last but not least customers. Even better noncustomers should be involved in the team. And an external innovation consultant should also be added.

These are relatively simple requirements to get started and to get started quickly.
Do you already have an innovation team in place??




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