How to Innovate in Big Corporations
The role of a corporate innovator or change-maker often appears as a realm of endless creativity and groundbreaking ideas. However, the reality is more complex. Innovation extends beyond mere moments of brilliance or unexpected inspiration.
For innovation professionals and teams, the primary goal is nurturing a self-sustaining innovative mindset and weaving external visions into everyday business practices. This involves strategic planning, engaging stakeholders, and aligning with fundamental business objectives.
Drawing on over a decade of experience in large corporations, this series of articles aims to demystify innovation management, starting with a critical component: Mindset.
Chapter 1: The Essence of Teamwork and Stakeholder Engagement
Innovation as a Democratic Exercise
In the rapidly evolving business landscape, innovation is a key driver of success. Yet, the role of an Innovation Professional is frequently misunderstood. Let's clarify: effective innovation is not an individual endeavour; it's a collective responsibility.
An inclusive environment, where cross-functional teams feel empowered and valued, is essential. Without this inclusiveness, commitment to the innovation process wanes.
Contrary to the stereotype of the lone 'creative genius', a successful Innovation Professional excels in fostering a space where creativity and the right mindset flourish. Their role is not just about generating ideas but ensuring psychological safety among stakeholders and aligning diverse perspectives with the company's strategic goals.
Building Trust and Creative Freedom
Trust is a precious commodity in any organisation. Innovators often grapple with securing necessary resources and creative autonomy. How can this trust be built? Early stakeholder involvement and showcasing project viability with tangible data and results are key. However, the emotional resonance and credibility of the message are also crucial in establishing trust.
Chapter 2: Structuring Innovation from Concept to Reality
From Ideation to Implementation
Innovation is more than just 'Eureka' moments. It's about developing a dependable, repeatable process for nurturing and evaluating ideas, investing in the promising ones while letting go of the rest.
Aligning with Core Business Goals
True innovation works in harmony with the company's core objectives. Incremental innovations, in particular, play a vital role in building credibility and supporting more ambitious projects.
Chapter 3: Expanding Horizons Beyond the Corporate Sphere
Collaborative Ventures and Networking
Collaboration with external partners is a facet often overlooked. Successful co-creation requires clear roles and communication channels. Networking is not only for immediate collaborations but also for future opportunities. If possible, an exclusive open innovation platform can be a valuable asset for these partnerships.
Conclusion: The Path to Sustainable Innovation
Innovation management is a delicate balance of encouraging creativity and adhering to structured planning. It's about internal and external stakeholder engagement, cultivating a culture of democratic ideation, and establishing effective processes. By integrating these elements, we pave the way for impactful, sustainable innovation that resonates with people and aligns with business objectives, bridging the gap between the ideal and the practical.