A lot of organisations I work with and indeed many of the most innovative companies in the world understand that a critical lever to keep the innovation fire burning is having a great team of Innovation Champions. A typical Innovation Champion is an employee who is passionate about playing an active role to make innovation thrive within their organisation. Quite often, champion duties are not even a formal part of their role but they wish to amplify the innovation of others. Therefore, champions may not necessarily be the creative geniuses or top idea generators, rather they are the connectors, inspirers, and facilitators.
This group of champions is an invaluable resource for organisations. Champions become the extended reach into the organisation to help keep innovation top of mind. If you are thinking about going down the Innovation Champion route or are well and truly on this path, there are certain things that are important to be aware of when you select your champions.
Choose people who are:
Great champions are those who are the connector types, not those who prefer to stay in their office every second of the day.
2. Positive influencers
It is not solely a person’s seniority that makes someone influential. Think about the informal networks and who has clout. Great Innovation Champions are those who are influential and well-respected by their peers.
Choose those who are naturally inquisitive, explorative, and open to new ways of thinking.
4. Passionate about innovation
Make sure the motivation is right. Champions should have opted in to the group because they are truly passionate about making innovation successful within your organisation.
5. Come from different areas of the business
Make sure you get a good cross-functional mix of champions so that all areas of the business are represented.
Finally, I often see this group of champions not optimised to their fullest potential. Once you have selected your champions, it is important that you provide them with the specific facilitation skills and tools they need to maximise the transformational power of this group. At Inventium, we developed two programs to fill the Innovation Champion skill gap: Customer-driven Innovation Program and an advanced Facilitator Accreditation Program (a 4 month program) to support those in Innovation Champion roles.
Cheers, Shelley, and if you’d like to speak further about the content of this e-news contact me at [email protected]