Fourth Age Communiqué - Leadership for the rest of us

Monday, June 16, 2008

Forming a team for innovation

A colleague approached me in preparation for building a new innovation team. His question was, how do you manage a team in an organization charged with innovation?

So here is my initial checklist of what things you need to build and run a killer innovation team:

  • Know your stakeholders, know their expectations
    Make a list of what assumptions your stakeholders hold, or at least the ones you need to have answered. You need to know who butters your bread, and the context for what your team does / will do. What do they care about? Why does your team exist in their eyes? What are their touchpoints for success?

    Don't assume they stay the same; assume you need a levelset annually or better.

  • Define / Clarify / re-iterate your charter
    Charter here means purpose and mission. Why do you exist? How do you know you are succeeding? This is your team's mantra.

  • Publicize / educate your organization on the value proposition of your team
    What is the tangible value your team delivers to the organization? What are the qualifiers your food chain uses to define this value? And how might you seize on those definitions as a replacement for such an over-used term as innovation?

  • Document your metrics for success
    Ah, numbers: here is where you articulate your charter's mission was achieved in some way (think ROI). Compare all your goals to these metrics when it comes time to prioritize resources and projects. And compare all your results the same way.

  • Plan for risks
    Startups are risky ventures. Have contingency plans ready to go when your results don't measure up to your goals.

  • Win fast (or Innovate Quick)
    Let small, manageable wins add up to bigger ones over time. Try to change a small part of the world every 3-6 weeks.

    And be sure to document wins to your stakeholders!


  • Sweet...a 3 year 3 month lag since your last post. You take the term intermittent blogger to a whole new realm! Jen

    By Blogger jokimoto, at 8:49 AM  

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