Innovation Game Changers: Part I

Filed Under Innovation

top view on the board
Nichole Devolites

by
January 24, 2014

Process, efficiency and technology — three words I’m sure you’ve heard a million times in your own organization. These three words have reigned supreme in companies that have continually fallen into a cycle of establishing cultures that heavily rely on corporate standards to dictate their daily work and solve challenges. But, there is a change afoot.

Slowly but surely, these ways of thinking are beginning to be pushed aside for more innovative ways of doing the same work, solving the same challenges, reaching higher goals, obtaining more revenue, and achieving greater customer satisfaction. Breaking barriers in process, efficiency and technological adoption is bringing about a fast change — a revolution of sorts. Innovation (and the people that support this change) are at the helm.

Identifying Game Changers

I’ve learned that there’s one common denominator all of our customers have: regardless of where they are on their innovation journey, someone within their organization had a vision that would shake things up, someone who genuinely wanted to make a positive difference that wouldn’t just permeate their organization but would extend out to their customers as well.  We call these people “Game Changers.”

It’s easy to spot a Game Changer – they are the ones looking to make their organization better through new technologies and methodologies that take them a few notches above their competitors. They are die-hard believers in new ways of doing things and will do what it takes to pull resources together to make it happen.

In fact, there are five distinct qualities that prove you’re a game changer:

  1. Passion. Game Changers are usually passionate people who believe in change and are focused on gaining momentum with supporters. They believe in their cause and are in a role to recruit others.
  2. Drive. Game Changers have a drive that is second to none.  Making things happen is what they live for — they usually leverage wide networks, while seeking to create new ones. Their boundless energy and passion drives change.
  3. Boldness. Game Changers are not afraid to ask for what they need. They are not afraid of pushing boundaries to test limits.
  4. Risk Tolerant. Game Changers are not afraid of asking for forgiveness later. They are willing to put what they have, on the line, to support their cause.
  5. Students of Industry. Game Changers are constantly learning. They are the ones reading up on innovative ways to get things done. Their passion and drive supports this need to continue to evolve in this space.

However, while it might be one person to have a vision, it still takes a village and these Gamer Changers know it.

Building an Effective Team

True Game Changers will seek to find like-minded supporters to help build the baseline of their innovation program.  This can be extremely challenging, as it requires many different parts of the organization to be on board.

Think of how a start-up company comes to fruition:  there’s someone with a vision and through networking and recruiting, the Founder of the vision finds more people with niche expertise that can help shape his or her vision into an established organization. To function, the Founder recognizes a need for an investor, a leader, a marketing communications team, a legal advisor, possibly one person to maintain HR-related tasks, a sales team, as well as many other people that can help carry this vision out. Building an Innovation Team is no different.

As Phil Jackson, former Coach of the Chicago Bulls and L.A. Lakers famously said, “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”

Stay tuned for my next post in this series, where I will discuss the different roles needed, in order to build a well-established Innovation Team.

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