Innovation Starts With A Senior Executive Risking Her Position
Most business functions in an organization are there to execute on a plan.
Since innovation is a high risk game, in a big organization it usually means risking one’s position. So the first step to implement an innovation strategy is to secure strong commitment from a senior executive to the nature and process of innovation strategy. It not only means risking money, it means risking a disruption to the company’s culture, morale, and ego of team members, junior and senior alike.
I was asked many times about best practices to complete this first step. I don’t think there’s a better answer than trust. That is why is established agencies are now building innovation practices – they are trusted to make high risk moves. For a new entrant to the space, there needs to be an initial investment of marketing air cover, building a reputation. That means playing for the long run while securing small early wins.
The Corporate Innovation Framework
So here is a rough plan to go about executing innovation framework in a large org. This is based on my practical experience and seeing what other have done in similar situations:
At the end of evaluation, do one of these:
- Kill project
-Increase funding for the specific project for another phase of testing and learning
-Hand off to business unit for scaling
This cycles repeats itself while improving processes, tools, methods, and metrics, and can grow in scope across departments.
Innovation Business Rhythm
Quarterly 2-hour meeting with executive sponsor and leadership team:
Conduct bi-annual innovation impact meeting with the exec sponsor and her superior.
Ad-hoc rapid response to fires, red tape and politics via email, phone conferences.