We believe that how we approach innovation is important. We also believe that innovating for a purpose is superior to sifting sand in a box in search of something to innovate. When an association begins by defining innovation as “a change that makes something better”, it points to places to look for meaningful opportunities. It also helps clarify what “positive change” would accomplish by describing “how the relevant world would be different in a better way”
We find that the most frequently successful sources of targets for positive change include:
(a) process analysis,
(b) market research,
(c) program evaluation,
(d) failed experiments and
(e) underutilized offers.
We also find that the most frequently unsuccessful sources of targets for positive change are:
(a) benchmarking against what is already in practice elsewhere,
(b) books or speakers that provoke angst without offering a solution search process that is consistent with the organizations external and internal real ties, or
(c) a loud voice attending to a burr under only their own the saddle or a self-indulgent bug located elsewhere in their anatomy.
We also find that the composition of an innovation team is critical to its success. Our experience suggests that the most effective teams are convened when prospective membership is vetted in three steps: Step 1– vet for appropriate skill sets to promote good thinking and team work;
Step 2-vet for expertise and experience related to the topic at hand to promote sound advice and informed suggestions; and
Step 3– vet for representativeness and diversity of perspectives to promote creativity and support.