It is the beginning of the week, you meet as a team and present ideas but one of them is outstanding. Your Leader says, “that is a great idea, let’s go make it happen! “However, there’s an issue the idea needs a champion. You are chosen without a contest. I mean you are the best person for the job.
Thirty days later you feel as though you are trying to make the innovation happen inside the Company that is determined to make you fail from all angles. Can you relate? It is an incredibly frustrating place to be:
Marketing thinks you will damage the brand it the idea fails. Manufacturing is upset because they have to change their schedules to accommodate your tests. Sales people are reluctant to test your market with their customers. Human resources are unwilling to add another compensation component to their existing system to accommodate motivated innovators. Finance is concerned that your initiative is a money spending component. Information technology claims your project is too small to make exceptions in the standard systems and processes.
In the end you are broken by the resistance and the innovation is lost. Time is lost. You are demotivated and you swear never to take on another leadership role in championing ideas. The people who have been frustrating you tell you, “that stuff can never work here, maybe somewhere else” All the time, money and effort invested is lost at this particular point. Sadly, this is the story of many Companies, innovations fail and their companies fail them.
So how do you make sure that you are your ideas materialize and turn into leading products or services? How do you create an environment for fruitful innovation and stop wasting time, money and effort?
- Leaders need to stay involved: From the above scenario we never see the involvement of the leader who chose the champion at any stage. Everything starts and end ends with leadership.
- Plan for the innovation: Innovation execution needs a budget, re-alignment of systems and processes. So plan for it. Proper prior planning makes pitifully poor performance.
- The innovation champion needs to respect operations: Innovations by nature re unpredictable and risky. Operations on the other hand are tried and tested. And for such operations are a priority over innovation yet innovation needs its time. It’s a delicate balance that comes through practice.
In conclusion, dear leader when you endorse an idea champion give them the support needed, learn to set a budget for innovation and commit sometime to innovation to make it work.