Innovation – Who needs people


chances are you do! Innovation is seen as a “soft” science, difficult to measure and difficult to define. Other functions, such as procurement, finance and production are easier to define and seem much more established and “concrete”. Shopping, finance and production are approved business functions with hierarchy and responsibility. When we talk about innovation, however, measurements, statistics and operations are less obvious. Several companies have “innovation department” and even less have metrics of innovation or systems and processes to support innovation.

That’s why people are so important in the innovation initiative. Much of the work of innovation is the “fuzzy front end” as it may not be as many clear cut milestones or statistics and traditional transactional systems can not provide much value. It is this ambiguity that is managed so well with people. In business as in life, the important things boil down to people.

I ask you to go to the cinema to watch the film and you say “what is in it?” If you are browsing in a bookstore you will read the jacket notes to see who has recommended it and what critics say about it. If you register a new company, project or team, you have to ask “who is the boss, what are they like?” “Who else is working on this?” The main concern of venture capitalist’s managers – who must do this task (and my money) to work? The focus is always on people.

Innovation is an outgrowth of the people and culture of the company. If people are encouraged to innovate and improve and motivated appropriately, culture and processes will follow. If they are not motivated or added to be innovative, not the amount of system or process will drive innovation initiative. The people are the key to success in innovation.

Why focus on people? Success in the effort depends on having the right people doing the right things the right way at the right time. If you want to implement a successful innovation initiative, you need to have the right people in place to succeed. People are going to implement processes and systems to make things work. You need to know people. In addition, different people bring different skill sets and perspectives to the project, so exposing ideas and innovations to a broad group within your company can improve the chances of success with new ideas. Finally, a few people who truly believe in the idea can overcome many obstacles and administrative barriers.

Just as Meredith Belbin Team defined role, so there are a number of people you need to make innovation initiative work. The second part of this article -. Innovation, people you have describes the characteristics of these people


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