Innovative growth opportunities are uniquely different from current business. They require a different lens to see all that is possible. Once executives see the possibilities, they need to focus their whole paradigm, skills, and metrics on new points. Focused on the right things, taking the shot takes total commitment. They see optimal results when the change truly begins with them: The language has changed to “The top is leading this initiative – not just supporting it.”
But what does that take?
Success in creating growth based on new “Innovation” again and again lies in developing a “staged approach” to taking your idea to market.
The goal is to build an organizational capable of:
- Generating ideas
- Designing and developing winning concepts
- Committing its strongest talent pool to execute and launch the idea
And it’s the CEO—the entire senior management team—that’s responsible for building it.
But if they’re responsible, and the goal is change from within, why do executives reach for outside experts?
Most executives know intuitively that relying on the inspired efforts of a few homegrown resources to pursue innovative growth opportunities is a recipe for stagnation.
If you do what you’ve always done, you get what you’ve always gotten.
“But we believe in the project! We gave it to our best, most talented people. We’re giving it to our A-team because we believe they can achieve results.”
Executives now realize they need more than their best people to drive Innovation Initiatives to long-term success.
Often the responsibility is passed to strong performers in the core business, who are already stretched thin; or even worse, to people who have been passed over for other opportunities because they are seen as mediocre performers, but need to be given this opportunity to change that perception.
Your big bets are not the place to test your talent’s development!
No matter how great your idea, your overtaxed A-team or your available, but untested B-team both make for long odds on total success.
In-market success requires a ‘great idea’ to align with ‘flawless execution’ and a ‘well thought out and focused marketing campaign.’ Clearly, successful Innovation Initiatives demand more than a great idea and even your best people.
Smart executives have already realized this. They know that to amass support for new innovation initiatives in the face of competing core business needs, their company’s most talented mavericks must lead this sort of work.
There are two problems with this:
- Mavericks are hard to come by. People lose their maverick spirit in a company quickly.
And even if you can find a maverick,
- Mavericks don’t make it very long. They are easily defeated by common, basic organizational pathologies.
How? Let’s take a look at what befalls our best and brightest:
- Internal politics – often given responsibility but not given any real authority to challenge or drive change with their peers.
- Competing Deliverables – core business activities; even if they are said to be 100% dedicated to the project at hand, favors are often requested from the old work environment that never truly release them.
- Fear of failure – not willing to challenge traditional paradigms for fear of failing in the unknown. They never put both feet in new water.
- Hackneyed thinking – limited exposure to other industries or lack of creativity in seeing how transferable learning can come from an unlikely source.
- Competition Focused – Too busy following the current competitive trending activity to create a new market opportunity.
Your mavericks burnout before they ever even get off the ground—that is, if they ever ignite in the first place.
Consumer goods companies realize that innovation opportunities are materially different from their core business. They have
- different economics,
- different capital considerations,
- different methods of capturing value,
- different deployment plans.
So you need different people.
Executives no longer struggle with the fallacy that they have the internal capabilities to achieve “Innovation Growth”. They need outside experts.
Stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon.