What should innovation leaders and intrapreneurs know about innovation projects and new ventures? I have had the pleasure of working with such people for many years and I begin to see a pattern that I have summarized into 10 lessons for innovation leaders and intrapreneurs:
1. Know that innovation and intrapreneurship is about teams
- build a team of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable (team definition by Katzenbach/Smith)
2. Work with passionate and persistent people
- nothing goes as planned in new ventures. Passion and persistence help overcome most challenges and they are essential for making great things happen.
3. Use recognition and stories
- recognition if often a better rewarding tool than money. Explore ways of recognizing people and use it to develop compelling stories that sells your company better than cold facts.
4. Define your target markets and eco-systems
- well-defined target markets are key to crossing the gap between early adopters and the main market. You also need to know that all markets are networked and that you need to break the current set of behaviours of many stakeholders within the eco-system before you can establish a new market equilibrium.
5. Understand the value proposition
- build a clear and concise statement that outlines your value-creating features to customers and stakeholders.
6. Craft an elevator pitch
- you always have something to sell; learn how to craft an elevator pitch that captures the very essence of your value proposition in terms that focus on the recipient of the message.
7. Define your values, personal brand and relationships
- know what you stand for and which messages you send to others and know the structure of your network and relationships; learn how to adapt to fit your strategic goals.
8. Define your team brand
- learn how to use values, personal branding and relationships as a team discipline to penetrate and win new markets.
9. Bring depth, breadth and empathy to the table
- all team members should have depth in an area that is critical to the company as well as breadth and empathy for the other things that makes or breaks the company.
10. Combine internal and external forces
- on development issues it is important to make “reapplied with pride” just as important as “invented here.” Remember that the wealth of external knowledge outscores your internal knowledge and you need to turn this into an advantage. Get on the open innovation movement.
Let me know what you think.
Stefan Lindegaard is a speaker, network facilitator and strategic advisor who focus on the topics of open innovation, intrapreneurship and how to identify and develop the people who drive innovation.