TIP: How to build a winning innovation team?

You want to set the innovation ball rolling, but you need your team to come along. What’s the trick to engaging people and their enthusiasm?

1. First, a thorough and intelligent communication plan
Building a communication plan that promotes innovation is essential. When putting this plan together, be sure to consider a complete scope that includes clearly defined audiences, key messages, frequency expectations, and a media strategy. To have a good innovation management software is not enough. And do not forget to make the most out of your existing internal media (like newsletters, intranet, and internal TV).

Other non-conventional media can also be considered. When planning your innovation program, be sure to engage your internal personnel and any agencies you work with.

2. “What’s in it for me?”
This is the number one question most people will ask. Organizations, business units, and individuals are motivated by incentives. These don’t have to be tangible incentives; the most essential we’ve found is recognition. Being recognized and acknowledged motivates people to contribute to innovation programs at every stage of the process.

Insight: “The majority of senior executives (that is, C-level executives and vice presidents) and decision makers (that is, directors and managers) are satisfied with the return on innovation spending. In sharp contrast, little more than a third of other employees—36 percent of respondents—are satisfied.” Senior Executive Innovation Survey, BCG, 2010

3. Feedback, again and again
Be sure to tell everyone exactly what’s going to happen and what has happened. The times are gone when management could withhold information and expect everyone to continue to diligently contribute.

There’s nothing more annoying to a potential contributor than to be kept in the dark after dedicating his or her time to an innovation workshop, submitting an idea, or otherwise investing energy in the initiative. An absence of feedback will dramatically disengage people.

Remember: Engagement is the fuel for innovation.

Pedro do Carmo Costa, Exago’s director and co-founder
pcc@exago.com

FROM THE START: Innovation looks easy – it’s not

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