Experiences from Innovation Managers

by einsteindiva.com

in Innovation

As an Organizational Innovation Manager, what is the single most important thing you’ve learned?

          – Is it how to get support from top executives?

          – Is it how to cope with resistance of change?

          – Is it how to diffuse innovation?

          – Or is it….?

What is your point of view?

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Majken Praestbro August 14, 2010 at 13:38

Decisions are more likely to be made, if I present customer experience on video or audio clips. Gives the gutfeeling and urge that “we have to do something about it!”


Johan Groth August 14, 2010 at 15:46

Ideas have a life of their own. You can’t ask people to have ideas. You must *let* them have ideas.


Stephen | InventionAddict August 14, 2010 at 16:37

The most important thing I learned is that innovation encompasses much more than just the idea. An innovation truly becomes an innovation only after it sells en masse.

You will face setbacks and you will even fail sometimes. It’s hard work and not for the faint of heart. The more you know about the whole business cycle the better off you will need to be. You also need to be able to sell you idea.



Kevin Palmer August 14, 2010 at 17:29

Give employees a free day where they can come up with ideas to make the company better. No restraints or limitations. Just open innovation. The reward is the recognition of their peers.


Ginac August 14, 2010 at 19:41

I agree, Kevin. I once worked at a company who had ‘Renaissance week’ once per year, and people were given freedom to come up with as many ideas as they could, no matter how crazy. For fun, we invited some really energizing speakers to talk to us about fun, innovation, and success. It was so much fun and some really good ideas came out of the process.


einsteindiva.com August 15, 2010 at 14:25

‘Renaissance week’, what a lovely idea! Did the employees get released from their duties for a whole week just to brainstorm or? How did you conduct it?


Marci Segal August 14, 2010 at 19:04

To maintain a sense of humor and perspective.


Bob Jacobson August 15, 2010 at 05:49

The ability to innovate is innate. It cannot be taught, although it can be coached. The need to design and create intellectual frameworks and organizational structures that identify, develop, and support innate innovators is critical, but still mostly intuitive. We must abandon the hyper-democratic notions that “everyone can be an innovator” or that “innovation requires collaboration.” Each may be true, but only under limiting circumstances. Forgoing this orthodoxy, we will find the wisdom and resources necessary to enhance the innovation process and dramatically boost the success of innovation initiatives led by talented individuals.


Greg Yezersky August 15, 2010 at 15:51

While I respect your opinion, but I could not disagree more with a number of aspects of your position.
1. Innovation can be taught. I have been doing this for more than twenty five years (gee, I am getting old :-) ) with great success and track record. Not only can I make everyone an innovator (the capability to produce meaningful and new concepts and ideas – not their implementation), but also I can garantee the results in advance!
2. Everyone MUST be an innovator because innovation is required at every single level of an organization. The C-level must innovate new strategies and business models while people of the shop floor must take care of the production and mahufacturing processes.
3. I totally agree with you that innovation dsoes not require collaboration if you meant the creation of ideas/concepts. That said, however, if one talks about implementing ideas (especially, inside a corporate structure), cooperation is a MUST!

Best regards,


Mattias Tronje August 15, 2010 at 12:31

Intensity and humility. Intensity to bring speed, enthusiasm and the power of doing. Humility to co-workers needs and frustration, organization, and structures, customers and their REAL needs, change and to be wrong about assumptions.


Greg Yezersky August 15, 2010 at 15:39

I believe that TRUE success of an entity’s innovation manager is predetermined by the overall goal s/he pursues. This is how I view this issue.
To survive (to say nothing about grow & prosper), any organization must continually innovate with the RIGHT results, which determines the need for having the Sustainable Capability to innovate on demand at any level of the organization: from the C-suite to the shop floor. Achievement of this goal (i.e. creation of this capability) is the sole purpose of having a corporate innovation manager and his/her most important responsibility. The rest comes out of setting forth this goal and moving toward its realization.


Bruce Sauter August 15, 2010 at 17:13

To be innovative as an organization or group it takes alignment in leadership, vision, mission, culture, strategy and execution with the right talent. The right talent has imagination, passion, resources, support and the white space to make it happen.


Gary Schirr August 16, 2010 at 02:09

Flexibility and iteration: build flexibility into a product and process. You may need to significantly change the product or the business model based on feedback from the early launch. Plan for feedbach and flexibility!


Kevin McFarthing August 16, 2010 at 23:51

The most important things are to keep the “helicopter view”, to be determined to see the project through, and to use influencing skills to keep key people on your side.


Janet Kuntz August 17, 2010 at 14:55

Innovation can be done by anyone, usually as a result of constraints. Innovation is not a big bang, but more of a building on other ideas and trying a new approach. I’ve found that to get creative juices flowing, being slighly irreverant, building on the unexpected and using humour to get people to relax and be open to new points of view goes a long way to increasing innovation.


Pat Parris August 17, 2010 at 14:58

People will never care how much you know until they find out how much you care.


Jon T August 18, 2010 at 06:36

Present a prototype, not a powerpoint deck.


Mario Titiheru August 18, 2010 at 11:47

I guess innovators have the capability to look in the future and imagine how innovations look like and work in their company. Most executives are very conservative and want to play it safe. So for me, two things play a big role:

1. How to motivate executives.
2. How to handle frustrations when that doesn’t work.


Mike Shipulski August 24, 2010 at 01:03

Problem definition is the key to innovation. Lots of times innovation teams are working on the wrong problem or don’t know the problem they’re working on.

Problem definition should be defined as tightly as possible – where is the problem, when does the problem occur, what physical entities are involved?

Create a one page cartoon of the problem so you can explain it to a non-technical person.


Øystein Danielsen August 25, 2010 at 15:21

The two most important lessons I have learned, and will follow for the rest of my life is:
1. The best thing to do is make a right decision, the second best is to make a wrong decision and the worst is to make no decision. If you make no decision you decide to leave the decision to the circumstances and you will have no control of the result.
2. If you are 70% sure, then start. The rest you will find out on the way to the target.


Errol Flanagan September 2, 2010 at 14:25

Keep the energy up, stay positive, be passionate, generous, imaginative and bold, and take ‘no’ as ‘explain it better and i might be convinced’.
Talk to the bit inside everyone that would love to do great things.


Veena Vasista September 13, 2010 at 20:45

A key lesson for me with regards to innovation is that sharing one’s creativity is a vulnerable step and requires trust/a sense of safety.


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