How to Amplify Innovation
Posted 2 years ago
How to Amplify Innovation
Connect Innovation with Commercialisation Skills
A common question often asked by Innovation Managers is how to amplify innovation within an organisation.
In most cases, this comes from frustration around getting all staff members aligned with the innovation message and system. Some team members embrace the concept but many don’t – and often the more senior a person is, the more difficult it is to build an all-encompassing ‘culture of innovation’.
As with many of the buzz words in innovation, the term ‘culture’ is often the problem as it assumes that there is just one culture, whereas to amplify the innovation message, culture means different things to different team members.
If you want to amplify innovation, it requires an effective communication approach within the hierarchy of an organisation, with different internal stakeholders needing to know, and communicate, different things.
Strategies to help you Amplify Innovation
Below are some communication concepts to support the amplification of your innovation program across three common groups within an organisation:
- The Board: Many boards are actively involved in ‘signing off’ on a new innovation program, but their level of involvement often diminishes over time as they focus on other aspects of the business. Can each of your board members describe the purpose of the innovation system? Can they describe how the innovation system aligns with strategy implementation? Can they describe the decision-making process to deploy new products and services?
- The Managers: Similar to the board, to amplify innovation the leadership team and senior managers within the organisation need to understand the innovation system but more importantly how it supports their day-to-day activities. Can they communicate to their teams how innovation adds value to their division/section? Can they communicate the opportunities that are available to them and their teams to utilise the innovation system?
- The Staff: This tends to be where most of the attention is focussed, and team members are trained in trendy approaches such as design led thinking, lean-startups and intrapreneurship. Great training – but if you asked a staff member to describe to a new employee what the innovation program is about, could they do this?
The common thread, is ensuring that different levels within the organisation can describe what the innovation program means to them. While training is important to lay the foundations of innovation principles and approaches, if board members, managers and staff can’t stand in front of others and describe the innovation system and their role in the system then they don’t really understand it.
The missing piece to amplification is essentially ‘practice pitches’. Nothing sharpens up the messaging more than when you actually need to describe something to others.
So to amplify innovation there is a need to extend training programs to include ‘practice pitches’ to embed learning and support engagement of boards, managers and other team members.