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Innovation managers, chief innovation officers and head of innovation. These are all new titles becoming more commonplace as organisations realise the importance of developing new solutions and ideas for their markets. Often these roles are filled by someone with no previous experience in a formal innovation role but who have proven themselves and displayed abilities transferrable to driving new ideas across the organisation.

We have the top 3 tips for innovation managers.

Teamwork makes the dreamwork!

It would be a tough task to try and drive innovation alone and its one of the glorious aspects to your role. Who doesn’t love a good brainstorming session and being able to give people in the organisation a chance to have their ideas heard as well as being able to contribute to the next big thing that they’ll be working towards.

Implementing regular forums for collaboration will start things moving in the right direction. It’s important the wider team in the organisation understand the big picture and how important innovation is to the direction of your organisation. Start with an ‘introduction to innovation’ with examples of companies who have transformed themselves through new and innovative ideas. Then provide a summary of what you are trying to achieve, where the organisation sits currently and where it needs to get to in the next 6-12 months and then in the next 5-10 years. You want to gain your teams interest to ensure their future engagement.

Culture Club

You’ve made a good start. You’ve got the members of the organisation together and shared the big vision for the future but now the challenge is to keep up the momentum.

Examine your workplace culture. Chances are that if your organisation have made a specific role for driving innovation then there is a belief not only on the importance of new ideas but that there are areas for improvement in how they have done things in the past. Challenge the status quo and examine why it is that new ideas haven’t succeeded in the past or what improvements could be made on those that did succeed.

Develop an ecosystem that is built on being open to new ideas and open to one another. The acceptance and willingness to share new ideas must be cultivated and encouraged from all members of the organisation. Leaders should demonstrate productive leadership and model the behaviours of what they are trying to instil. Silicon Valley is an example of one of the most innovative ecosystems in the world and it’s these traits that promote the free flow of ideas and lay the grounds for so many success stories.

Seek Out New Methods

Try to view things differently. Examine other organisations who have successfully achieved what you are trying to do or look at different industries that you can learn from. In the global 2018 report “State of Innovation” by CB Insights it clearly states that one of the primary factors affecting innovation velocity is the insular view on how they will attack new developments. Rather than partnering or buying most organisations choose to build innovations themselves. “60% of companies say it takes a year or longer to create new products, with almost one-forth saying it takes over two years from ideation to launch.”

Look at the market and seriously consider partnerships or acquisitions that will help you accelerate your release date. Also, consider opportunities for co-design as you may find a partnering organisation with equal expectations for success who are embarking on the same or similar challenges. If managed correctly co-design and co-creation can ensure more efficient go to market timeframes and less risk.

If you have recently been appointed as an innovation manager congrats! We’d love to hear about your experiences for our research. Do you think we all have a little innovation manager inside of us? :O)

Thanks for reading! We love talking innovation so if you want to chat more contact us here.