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A Meetup for Innovation Practitioners

Posted 4 years ago

What are innovation managers doing now in response to COVID-19?

Many in our innovation practitioner network are struggling to quickly adapt and modify their innovation efforts in response to their organisations rapidly changing needs. For this reason, Impact Innovation is hosting fortnightly 1hr peer discussions for innovation practitioners to connect and share best practices for the next 3 months.

The first virtual Meetup was held late last week. More than 30 Innovation Practitioners across APAC discussed key insights with guest speakers, including, Teresa Brown (IAG) and Luisa Magalhães (Unitywater). Overall, it was a great event with insightful discussions around how practitioners are changing their innovation systems and transforming their organisations in response to COVID-19. 

Here are five key insights from Meetup #1 that you can consider for your organisation:

  1. Keep people engaged. Insights into the tools and approaches being used to keep teams together was explored. It means that people working remotely can feel like they are useful and helping solve the key business challenges. Examples of tools were provided, including idea crowdsourcing & management platforms such as Brightidea. Tool selection will keep changing depending on the intended outcome of the meeting, event, or initiative.
  2. Don’t create new innovation system, adapt an existing process. Team members everywhere are learning new things about how to work effectively in a remote workplace. So, it is better to use and modify an existing system than add to the burden of new things to learn. For example, use the tag “COVID-19” on ideas rather than creating a new separate challenge or pipeline.
  3. Embrace the new priorities and accept that some new developments will be on hold. Our guests demonstrated agility in applying their innovation systems to the current focus. The key is to respond directly to the needs of executives for faster and more connected decision making. Some innovation projects had to be put on hold to respect isolation requirements, for example, engineering projects that require site visits.
  4. Teams need to be flexible. Both guests demonstrated how their colleagues were being used in different roles to address new challenges. This has helped create special response teams, maintain customer service, quickly address new customer-centric problems, and, to set-up isolation of key services for operational continuity. (It also helps here if your organisation has already established a strong innovation culture).
  5. You must keep extracting value from innovation workshops and ideation. Even though the usual face-to-face ideation events and workshops can’t proceed, we heard about other techniques. For example, practical on-line activities and software that can open problem-solving initiatives to all staff. These techniques help maintain the culture of innovation and a sense of inclusion to help address social isolation.

The consensus was that it is still early days in terms of a response, many teams were still in ‘action mode’. There was a sense that this crisis will have a lasting effect on how businesses engage people to solve problems and deliver value in the future. As they say, ‘watch this space’ and see how new operating norms evolve.

If you are an innovation practitioner, you are welcome to join our Impact Innovation Lab LinkedIn Group and be the first to hear how others are responding.

To join our next Meetup and to hear about other upcoming Impact Innovation activities, click here.