What Every Innovation Manager Wants For Christmas
Posted 2 years ago
Christmas is the time for giving. Time for caring. Time to look after the special people in your life. So why not look after the special people driving your innovation program?
We know that support and enablement from senior leadership are critical to successful innovation systems, so if you’re stuck for ideas, don’t worry, we’ve got you. Here’s what every innovation manager wants for Christmas.
1. World-class idea management software
Great idea management software enables innovation managers to collect ideas from across the organisation and externally, then easily sort and evaluate the best ideas before progressing them to implementation. It also provides a platform to facilitate virtual ideation and hackathons, lead collaborative problem-solving exercises and run open innovation challenges.
Innovation managers want software that can break down geographical barriers and departmental silos to crowdsource ideas and insights that enhance their innovation strategy. As well as saving time and cost in managing innovation programs manually, a platform enables increased productivity and scale of the organisation’s innovation efforts . What’s not to love?
2. A team of skilled innovation champions
There’s only 24 hours in a day, and an innovation manager is just one person – even if they are an incredibly efficient and talented one. Innovation managers need assistance from a team of champions throughout the organisation to help uncover ideas, garner internal support and play a role in innovation project execution. But well-intentioned, enthusiastic amateurs can hinder more than they help. So, make sure your innovation manager is supported by a squad of trained, skilled innovation champions from across the business, then sit back and watch how much they can achieve.
3. Support from management
Innovation managers must be able to link their innovation efforts to the overall company strategy. To do this effectively, they must have an intimate understanding of the organisation’s goals, KPIs and direction. Innovation managers should be included in high level strategic briefings, have time to present in regular senior management and board meetings, and regularly get face time with senior leaders. In this way, leadership demonstrates a company-wide culture of support for innovation, and the innovation program will align much more closely with the overall company strategy.
4. A common language around innovation
A common language around innovation is a fundamental element in any cohesive, effective innovation program. Across the organisation, anyone should be able to answer these two questions:
- What does innovation mean to our organisation?
- How does innovation help us achieve our goals?
In addition, establishing a glossary of common innovation terms and what they mean within the organisation is extremely useful when it comes to gaining traction with innovation projects or encouraging company-wide involvement in innovation challenges. It also helps position the organisation as a truly innovative company when all external facing staff are speaking to clients and suppliers about innovation in the same way.
This language can be created and shared in-house, or external consultants can be engaged to speed up the process.
5. Permission to fail
Innovation managers need the confidence to make mistakes. To experiment and fail, in order to learn valuable lessons that can be applied to the next iteration.
Many organisations claim to embrace failure, only to immediately turn around and haul someone over the coals when their project does not generate the results anticipated. The pressure to make every project a success can greatly inhibit an innovation manager’s willingness to try new ideas or take intelligent risks.
IBM’s Thomas Watson, Sr., once said, “The fastest way to succeed is to double your failure rate.” Organisations that can increase their tolerance for risk and normalise failure as a natural part of the learning process will benefit from increased creativity and sustained innovation, a critical factor in establishing market leadership. And it will empower your innovation managers to do what they do best – innovate.
6. A copy of the ISO Innovation Management Standards
Across the world, leading organisations are embracing the ISO Innovation Management standards as a guide for best-practice innovation. The standards provide global intelligence and advice around establishing an innovation system, and a simplified, consistent approach to the terminology, tools, methods, and interactions that enable innovation.
The ISO standards set a benchmark for innovation management, and innovation managers who do not understand and apply the standards risk being left behind as their competitors apply international best practice methods to improve the value, ROI and impact of their innovation activities. Make sure your innovation manager has access to the industry standards they need to excel in their field.
7. A week in the Maldives
Being an innovation manager is hard work. Not only does it demand deep domain expertise, years of practical experience and unwavering enthusiasm, it also requires resilience, perseverance and a ninja-like ability to pivot and adapt. Maybe your budget doesn’t extend to a week in the Maldives (and who knows what travel restrictions will be in place next year), but taking a moment to recognise your innovation manager for the impact they make – whether it be a hand-written card, a thoughtful email or a company award – will mean a lot.