In our most recent live call, we invited IL members to ask us anything that was on their minds. We explored topics including:
- Innovation Leader’s Blueprints for Corporate Innovators , our just-published collection of tools, templates, scorecards, and worksheets
- Best practices for building a successful innovation incubator
- How quickly initiatives should move along the maturity curve
- Tips and tricks for innovating in a franchised company
- What reports are in the Innovation Leader pipeline
HYPE Innovation’s Jennifer Dunn (pictured at right) and Scott Kirsner from Innovation Leader answered questions during the session. Dunn is Director of Customer Success at HYPE where she works with clients including Mattel, BAE Systems, and ConocoPhillips.
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During the webcast, Dunn answered a participant’s question about building a network of innovation champions. In her response, Dunn divided employees into several different categories, ranging from “enthusiastic” to “interested” to “unaware” to “skeptical.” Targeting employees in the enthusiastic category can pay off the best, Dunn said: “These members are already bought in; they participate regularly regardless of topic; and they often are great collaborators — they’ll share their ideas, but they’ll also help comment on and build out the ideas of their peers.”
Dunn also discussed the importance of creating diversity in an organization’s network of champions.
“Regardless of how members are identified, it’s important to diversify the innovation champion community by having representation from various groups and various locations across the organization,” she said. “This really helps us to start a movement.”
Addressing the same question, Kirsner said: “We did some research earlier this year…[and we found] creating a network of champions was the tactic people felt was highest value. … It really…spreads your network in the organization and make sure that, if you’re a diversified global company with people on every continent, that the innovation program isn’t seen as something that just exists at headquarters.”
When asked about how quickly an innovation initiative should mature, Dunn said that several factors could affect maturity. She noted that limited resources could slow down the progress of an innovation program. She also said that the focus of a project could change the timeline for growth.
“So programs with a focus on continuous improvement typically benefit from higher levels of engagement, just because the topics are more comfortable,” Dunn said. “Programs that focus on radical or more breakthrough ideas are often slower to bring to life, because they involve more risk, and only a portion of our crowd is going to feel comfortable that they have something to offer, especially in the early stages. … But once we get the engagement, ideas typically pay off in a big way.”