Leading an innovation-growth project is no different than solving a complex challenge - first, you need to know what the real problem is that you are trying to solve, clarify what is in and out of scope, and know where to focus your efforts to get to the right answer.
Scoping and planning the project helped to pinpoint where to focus our activities, and how best to design the brainstorm / ideation workshops. For more information on how to scope an innovation-growth project, click here to see our blog.
2. Staff participation
When tackling a complex innovation project in a short time-frame, success relies on having a great team. Here are five ways to achieve high levels of engagement:
- Clear milestones, a fixed start and end date, and having management meetings and workshop dates scheduled in the diary, helped to focus the mind
- A formal project kick-off meeting allowed time to discuss the aims, the deliverable, the plan, team roles, etc., and for the team to get to know each other
- Having brainstorms in different locations helped to get buy-in
- Keeping people updated on progress without taking up too much time (most meetings were limited to 30 mins)
- Swift decisions kept the project moving.
3. Customer insight
The business ideas had to be tested with customers, but we didn't have the time or resource to undertake a major piece of market research. A practical solution was for the Sales and Marketing teams to use their networks to identify customers and industry experts. Using this approach, we managed to talk with 20 companies and five subject-matter experts within a 3-week time-frame, and get their feedback on how to improve the ideas.
On a final note, it goes without saying that you have to be flexible - you need a good plan but don't work 100% from the script!
Other articles that may be of interest include:
- Using Ideation to populate a business strategy roadmap
- 10 recommendations when setting up a group-wide revenue growth programme
- What the film 'Up in the Air' can teach us about Business Model Innovation