Project Management

Start Building an Innovation Team

Kaihan Krippendorff

As more organizations bump up against the challenge of activating internal innovation teams, numerous new solutions have emerged. We have tried several of them, studied the efforts of organizations to implement them, and looked at the patterns by which successful innovation teams succeed. From this experience we have pinpointed seven critical steps to building an effective innovation team from within. We’ll cover the first two steps—Remove Organizational Friction and Assemble a Cross-functional Team—in the first of this multi-part series.

Step 1: Remove Organizational Friction

The first step is to diagnose where your organizational context will create issues for the team. Every organization is unique. Some impose multiple challenges, some none. Think through each of these points of organizational friction and assess where issues might arise so you can preempt them.

> Resources. For your idea to take hold, you need to ensure you will have the necessary resources. You will need both cash and time. But only 11 percent of managers surveyed by Wharton professor George Day said that their company’s strategy priorities have the resource they need for success. The cash challenge for internal innovators means not only getting the budget you need but establishing the internal political support to ensure that support will continue (we’ll dive more deeply into this in the next …


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