- They really care about the company, customers and stakeholders - they are hardwired to make a difference
- A mix of innovation and commercial experience (ideally across a range of industry sectors) with a proven track record of delivering results
- Balances exploration with exploitation (ideas are useless unless they are brought to market!)
- Willing to challenge the status quo and stick their neck out
- Can solve problems and assimilate new findings quickly
- Big-picture and detail-oriented thinkers
- Good communicators and facilitators – credible in front of colleagues, senior management, customers, and other external parties. Jargon-free. Passionate about innovation.
- Collaborative, easy to work with, liked and respected by colleagues and senior management – a person keen to ‘command and control’ all the time may not be the right choice!
- Manages upwards, so that management 'gets' what innovation is about and how it helps the company to achieve its business goals
- Strong programme management skills. Anticipates and manages risks; willing to stop an initiative (including their own!)
- A good grasp of what it takes to support a culture of innovation, and the organisation's ability to absorb results.
Gordon MacKenzie’s book Orbiting the Giant Hairball has a quote that I like: ‘Orville Wright did not have a pilot’s licence.’
If you have mediocre talent holding key innovation positions, play to their strengths – but provide proper coaching and support, and bring in external help if necessary.
- How do you go about selecting the right people to work on high-risk/reward innovation projects?
- How well do you share best practices in innovation and lessons learned from unsuccessful projects?
- What else could you do to support innovation projects and engage staff in innovation?
If you want to be more successful at innovation, I recommend the ebook Innovation Unplugged
And if you would you like to have a pipeline of innovations driving growth, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of 3inno
Copyright © 2017 3Inno Ltd
All rights are reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, except for brief quotations, not to exceed 250 words, without the prior permission of 3inno Ltd. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Gerard Harkin and www.3inno.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.