Without a full-time team dedicated to innovation, it can be tough to find the time your program needs.
Still, that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. An innovation program is a crucial component of your organization in today’s fast-moving and ever-changing business environment. So what should you do if you’re tasked with managing your company’s innovation program, on top of your existing responsibilities?
Just get started! Take the first steps to outlining your objectives, how you’re going to achieve them, and what success looks like. Work with top management to formalize these steps, and get others to hold you accountable to them too. Even getting a basic plan down on paper is a great start and while it sounds obvious, you’ll never get achieve anything if you don’t start.
Dedicate time! Everyone is busy, and I’m not going to claim you aren’t. But if you’re serious about promoting innovation in your organization, you’re going to have to commit to it. Start with as little as 10 minutes a day or an hour on Fridays to check out new ideas or research a new project. Once you get comfortable and establish this schedule, expand it.
Find some tools! There are a multitude of collaboration and project management tools on the market to help you stay organized. To power your pipeline, an idea management system can help with the collection, review, and implementation of new ideas within your organization, and can make it easy to engage your entire organization for new ideas and feedback.
Get some help! Managing an innovation program can be a difficult job for one person. If you’re able to find a little time each week to commit to innovation, others can dedicate a sliver of their time too. Whether in your department or others, recruit some fellow innovators to form your team. 10 minutes per day and a quick weekly meeting with your team members can add up.
Stay committed! Big issues arise and people get overwhelmed when projects are backed up, and innovation is no different. Sticking to your schedule and not skipping meetings is the best way to make use of your limited time and resources, and to keep your innovation program moving consistently forward. Encourage everyone on your team to hold each other accountable.
Show results! Building a more expansive innovation program for the future means producing with what you have now. Focus on smaller, incremental projects that require less resources and can be rolled out quicker to help you and your team secure more funding, personnel, and time to expand. Once you show success, your team will expand, you can take some responsibilities off your plate, or dive fully into being a full time innovation manager.