Communicating Innovation As a Priority - Spring2 Innovation

Communicating Innovation As a Priority

February 13, 2012

As an innovation team, if you already have executive buy in at the VP level, why are directors asking you to present your innovation idea or process once again? You have a budget and it has been approved, so you should be alright to move forward, right?

As an executive, you have given the approval and budget for the project, is there anything else left to do? One major contributor or inhibitor to success for innovation is – Communication. Communicate that the project is the way of the future and why you are behind it. You may not be behind it 100%, for various reasons, but if you have approved the budget for it and the project fails you are still accountable for the failure.  Furthermore, you jeopardize future innovation programs when your team members see that coming to you with innovative ideas will be a lone ride.

As an innovation team, how can you and your teams overcome the front line defenses that are set on maintaining status quo? Part of this is the thinking that:

  • We know our processes and our services better than anyone else
  • Why do you think you can come in and make these changes
  • We should be making the changes

This is partially a fear of change and concern around what it means for them going forward.  They may even be questioning their value to the company if the areas that they know so well are being reworked by an outside team.  Getting the frontline team on board may involve:

1)    Ensuring they are brought in to analyze the options;

2)    Getting their input into the innovation;

3)    Getting their help to figure out what it will take to support it in the long run;

4)    Assuming the front line team is part of the long term plan, ensuring that they understand what their role would be and how this may even improve things for them going forward.

That also means the innovation team has to be open to bringing in this input.  The level of support from the existing teams’ directors can increase participation and therefore innovation success. When it comes down to it, business and innovation are all about the people.

Once an innovative environment is established and everyone recognizes that innovation is required, supported and rewarded the process of bringing in innovation becomes much faster.  The more your company is willing to innovate the higher the chances are of the company being successful at innovation. With more people on board to develop and enhance ideas the better quality the outcome.