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5 Tactics to Move Innovation Forward

Innovation is critical to every business, though it’s not easy to do. Here are five tactics to help a company (even one that’s risk-averse) move forward with innovation.

Thomas Triumphhttp://tomtriumph.com/
TOM is a hands-on technology executive who helps large organizations act more nimbly in the market and small companies scale. Leading marketing and business development, he has launched numerous technology products and led cross-functional teams – including participating in two technology revolutions – less invasive medical devices and the Internet/software. Tom has been a part of some remarkable technology and business growth success stories (as well as some misfires). Building submarines out of 55-gallon drums in grade school, he eventually fulfilled a childhood dream of living aboard a research ship (Jacques Cousteau was on the Board of Directors) and tending to the mini-sub. Tom has also wrestled in the Olympic Trials, founded a consumer electronic company, and worked for leading companies to help launch and lead: medical device products, software, SaaS, Internet companies, professional consulting services, and 25 ton hovercraft built entirely from composite materials. This broad background has resulted in two unique characteristics - the depth of skill that allows Tom to contribute to the technical, business and creative process; and the disposition for collaboration across disciplines. He's an enthusiastic and collaborative team player who maintains a good sense of humor.

1 COMMENT

  1. Thomas — I ran a major innovation initiative in an earlier career whereby we trained >1000 people in a specific set of innovation skills. I learned two things:

    1. People don’t trust that the company’s leader really want to innovate. They want to talk about innovation because it’s sexy to talk about innovation. But most leaders are totally risk averse because (a.) they lack patience for new ideas to evolve because (b.) they’re focused on short-term company profits. So a lot of people adopted a “Why bother?” attitude.

    2. Many staffers (a.) didn’t feel comfortable brainstorming or the like because as much as session leaders professed that all ideas needed to be heard, there were always the “yes, but…” voices around the table, so a lot of folks adopted a “Why bother?” attitude. (b.) A large number of people didn’t feel they were creative, so they had the attitude. “Just tell me what to do.”

    We countered these negatives in two ways:
    1. By adopting a specific innovation methodology – Systematic Inventive Thinking – that provide a highly structured process and relied on can’t lose tool set. I called it “innovation for the rest of us” because it all but eliminated the “I’m not creative” attitude. It’s structured process included a defined space for the “Yes, but” voices, so virtual ideas were initially allowed to flourish.

    2. By including leadership in the innovation process. It’s hard for leaders to do the Michael Jackson moonwalk later if they’re involved in the process upfront. Involving leadership also brought huge credibility to the effort.

    Bottomline: innovation was about the people involved in the process. Underline and italicize “people.” If you don’t account for and address the people issues coming into the room, your innovation efforts are all but doomed to fail.

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