Innovation is the most potent form of leadership development.
You can’t outsource the important things. After working with more than 100 clients, we have noted one of the most critical factors in the success of an innovation project: if you outsource all of the work on your innovation projects, they will fail.
It doesn’t matter if you use our humble Studio or a 7-figure firm from Palo Alto or London. Many good innovation firms can generate consumer insights and craft a winning portfolio of concepts that have the nature to change your top-line growth. Yet, without training your team on the methods and tools of innovation, the breakthrough thinking will be resisted. The concepts will die on the vine.
Train Your Team
Therefore, you have to train your team to vet new growth without preset filters, especially if this growth is outside of your current business model. Training a core team of innovators at your organization has many benefits. Here are several:
- Learn the tools that create new value
- Generate consumer and customer insights
- Break down silos by having multidisciplinary teams train together
Innovation now demands to be a centerpiece of any professional training and development program. If you aren’t teaching these core practices, your competitors are.
Innovation as Leadership and Professional Development
The primary objective of Leadership and Professional Development is to cultivate emerging leaders who show nascent traits of greatness—and to harness their value they bring to their organizations. Innovation training teaches many of the most valuable skills in an immersive, hands-on, non-theoretical way.
The hard skills including learning empathy for potential users of their product or service, a contextual understanding of the market, methods for analyzing primary market research data, tools for reframing business issues, mastering the creation and facilitation of ideation sessions, rapid prototyping, market testing of prototyping, incorporating adaptive market-feedback inspired changes to prototypes quickly and inexpensively, and practice of narrative-style communication skills that evoke and motivate.
Soft skills include expanding mindsets so they look for market potential even if it exists outside of the current business model, rank-less and multi-disciplinary collaboration training, deep listening, respect for others, creative confidence and conviction, an in-depth understanding of the human factors and psychology guiding the invisible forces of the market, adaptive thinking, iterative and non-linear approaches to problem solving, critical thinking, pattern recognition, and abductive reasoning.
As a veteran of many training programs, I can attest that there is no more engrossing of a leadership development process than attending an innovation bootcamp or workshop. The lessons work upon both the external work processes and relationship skills and internal, personal growth. More important, as you learn by doing, there is a sense of the lesson adding value outside of the sometimes solipsistic category of personal development.
You cannot outsource innovation without missing the most seminal opportunity of a lifetime, including the new value you can create for your organization and the most holistic leadership training on the market.
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Michael Graber is the managing partner of the Southern Growth Studio, an innovation and strategic growth firm based in Memphis, TN and the author of Going Electric. Visit www.southerngrowthstudio.com to learn more.