From the Teach-In: Innovation Tips from Our Participants

By Scott Kirsner |  November 7, 2016

At our sold-out Teach-In gathering in Boston, we asked participants to pair up and share with each other a piece of wisdom about doing new things in established companies. The catch: it had to be succinct enough to fit onto a Post-It.

Here are a few of our favorite Post-Its from what turned into an amazing “wall of advice.”

  • Make innovation part of the company’s DNA: leadership support, empowerment, celebrate results.
  • Get diversity of talent on your innovation team.
  • Find passionate, poly-skilled people.
  • Real-world pilots require a test environment.
  • Get out — use external spaces for events, and engage with customers face-to-face.
  • Have three key metrics you can explain in an elevator or in a few minutes to communicate impact.
  • Fall in love with the problem, not the solution.
  • Innovation isn’t only about the product.
  • Educate executives upfront on what innovation is, why it’s of value, and how they’ll benefit from dedicating their resources to it.
  • Start small. Think big! Don’t scale too soon.
  • Innovate by visioning. What would it feel like walking a new employee around the company in five years?
  • Beware of financial metrics too soon.
  • Bring the business units that will benefit along in the innovation journey.
  • Acknowledge your lack of knowledge and go find the people you need.
  • Innovation can be viewed as a tumor or a fetus: How will your corporation treat it?
  • Start small and collect small, impactful wins.
  • Treat [your project] like an early-stage, cashless startup.
  • Monetize innovation by building it into [executives’ and employees’] bonus.
  • Don’t stop at ideation. Have a plan to scale and grow.
  • Get buy-in from the top as well as the bottom.
  • Separate research from development.
  • Don’t be afraid of “the complainers.”
  • Embrace the feedback. Don’t take it personally.
  • Don’t underestimate passion.
  • Collect and leverage project information to better guide future projects and decisions.
  • Use clients/customers to push your innovation agenda.
  • Be persistent.
  • Make friends everywhere; networking internally and externally is an imperative.

Do you have a Post-It length piece of advice to share? Post a comment below, and we hope to see you at a future InnoLead gathering!